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

24 November 2005

Australia fights for protection of marine species


Whales, sharks and seabirds will be among the sea creatures that will enjoy better protection as the Australian Government leads efforts to protect migratory marine species at an international meeting.

Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said protection of marine species would be the focus of discussions at a Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya.

Senator Campbell said the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species, from 20-25 November 2005, is an important meeting for the protection of species such as marine turtles, dugong, whales, sharks and seabirds.

“These migratory marine species have a special cultural, ecological and economic significance for Australia and the Oceania region,” Senator Campbell said.

“New protection measures proposed by the Australian Government are the listing of the highly migratory basking shark to the CMS, and an agreement to begin developing a global conservation arrangement for migratory sharks.

“As a migratory species moving throughout the region, the basking shark deserves international cooperation to ensure its survival.”

Senator Campbell said Australia would also push for the development of a conservation arrangement for marine turtles in the Pacific region and report on progress in developing regional conservation arrangements for cetaceans in the South Pacific, and dugong in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian regions.

Australia’s continued implementation of several existing CMS conservation arrangements will also be highlighted, including the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels – which aims to prevent longline bycatch of albatrosses and petrels, and the Indian Ocean – and the South-East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding – which aims to protect marine turtles and their habitat in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asian region.

Senator Campbell said Australia had worked to develop a regional conservation arrangement for whales in the South Pacific region under the CMS – a process that is nearing completion.

“Though strictly protected in Australia, migratory marine species such as whales, marine turtles, sharks, dugong and seabirds face a range of threats once they leave the security of our waters,” Senator Campbell said.

The Convention on Migratory Species is an intergovernmental convention with 92 Parties. It aims to protect migratory species across their ranges by developing and implementing regional conservation arrangements.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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