Australia's oceans face myriad threats, which is why the protection of our marine environment is so important. These threats include global warming, overfishing, industrial development and pollution. If we cannot halt and reverse the unsustainable demands on our oceans, then our long-term well-being and prosperity is also threatened. As marine ecosystems decline, meeting the needs of a growing human population will become an even greater challenge.
In 2015, WWF published the Living Blue Planet Report – a global analysis of over 5,000 marine populations and more than 1,200 mammal, bird, reptile and fish species. The report showed that populations had halved in just 40 years, a frightening indication that the fabric of life on Earth is unravelling.
On the Great Barrier Reef, farm pollution run-off is causing outbreaks of coral-eating crown of thorns starfish, which is making the Reef more susceptible to coral bleaching of the kind that occurred in early 2016.
In the Kimberley, areas never before protected are finally being considered for marine parks, but zonings and boundaries are questionable.
The Coral Triangle and its people are at risk from overfishing and unsustainable resource use, and in Antarctica, our delay in tackling dangerous climate change is threatening this wilderness stronghold.