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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

24 August 2004

New guide to help identify protected marine species


The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today released a set of waterproof flipcards to help all fishermen identify and protect Australia's most precious marine animals.

Launching the flipcards in Darwin Port, Senator Campbell said the flipcards would help recreation and commercial fishermen protect species they might come across when fishing.

He said the Protected Marine Species identification Guide featured photos and names of marine species that were protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

"It is illegal to intentionally kill, injure, take, trade, keep or move any species listed under the EPBC Act in a Commonwealth area without a permit," Senator Campbell said. "The flipcards are designed to help remove some of the confusion over which species are protected and for which reason.

"Sometimes a marine species protected under the Act may be killed or injured accidentally during fishing. While that's not an offence, it's a legal requirement to report this accidental take to the relevant state fisheries agency or the Department of the Environment and Heritage. These flipcards provide information on how to go about this reporting.

"Of course, when the particular marine species is still alive and well it should be returned safely to the water where it was caught.

"Fisheries such as the Northern Prawn Fishery are already doing great work to protect marine species listed under the Act. The flipcards are just another tool to help them do this.

"The flipcards were funded by the Australian Government's $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and produced by Ocean Watch.

"Australia is responsible for a marine area of 14 million square kilometres, home to some of the world's most diverse ecosystems with more than 80 per cent of marine species inhabiting these ecosystems being unique to the region.

"The Australian Government has made significant headway in protecting this precious environment, but it's everyone's responsibility to help protect these animals."

For more information on Australia's protected marine species, or for copies of the guide, contact the Department of the Environment and Heritage on 1800 803 772 or visit http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/species/index.html. A copy of the guide is available in PDF format at http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/publications/identification-guide/index.html

Commonwealth of Australia