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Need to protect unique marine ecosystems

by Environment Tasmania on 27 Jan 2009
New Species discovered by the CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship team off southern Tasmania © Copyright CSIRO Australia http://www.csiro.au
The discovery of deep-sea coral reefs off Tasmania’s north-east coast has highlighted the urgent need for Australia to radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase protection of our unique marine ecosystems.

'It is said that we know more about life on the Moon than we do about life on the seafloor, however CSIRO’s research is changing this, and not a moment to soon. This discovery is critically important in highlighting the spectacular wildlife that is found in the deep blue, and it’s heightened sensitivity to impacts from dangerous climate change and fishing activities,' said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator with Environment Tasmania.

'If these environments, kilometres down are already being impacted by ocean acidification and warming waters, then we are in for very serious trouble closer to land. These climate change impacts will resonate economically and socially across Tasmania and Australia as the additional pressure compounds on an already stressed marine environment and it’s wildlife populations that we depend on such as fish.

'A tiny fraction of these deep waters around Tasmania are fully protected from destructive activities such as commercial fishing and oil and gas development, and only 1% of our unique and diverse coastal waters (excluding Macquarie Island) are protected.

'These new findings provide yet more evidence that the Australian and State
Governments need to be taking a leading role in driving deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and increasing marine protection before it’s too late.

'If we’re not careful we will lose incredible natural wonders before we’ve even discovered what’s there,' concluded Ms Hubbard.



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