WWF-Australia says it is disappointing that the largest removal of marine protections in human history has been confirmed, with the Coral Sea’s protected area reduced by 50%.
An 11th hour attempt in the Senate to block the downgrading of protection failed this afternoon.
But WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said the fight to stand up for the Coral Sea was far from over.
“Better protection of the Coral Sea is one of WWF’s highest priorities. It is the Serengeti of the Sea – still largely untouched,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“We know our supporters around Australia are determined that the Coral Sea will receive the protection it deserves. On their behalf, WWF will keep pushing.
“We’d like to thank our supporters, community members and scientists who have advocated for better protection of the Coral Sea for more than a decade,” he said.
Mr O’Gorman said WWF-Australia’s position is that, at a minimum, the 2012 zoning plans that were proclaimed but not enforced should be re-instated.
The 2012 plans were supported by leading marine scientists and greatly boosted protection of the Coral Sea.
“The Coral Sea has had 28 million hectares of marine sanctuary ripped away and that must be returned to conserve this renowned ocean wilderness,” Mr O’Gorman said.