AMSA provided comments on the proposal for the establishment of marine parks in Australia's Indian Ocean Territories; Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands on 10 August 2021.
AMSA welcomes the initiative to create marine parks (MPs) in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) and is pleased to see the considerable commitment to protection of deep-water habitats and species.
AMSA supports the creation of the MPs; however, AMSA considers the proposal falls short in certain areas needed to make an effective Marine Protected Area, particularly:
- Aside from deep offshore waters, only very small areas of marine habitat are afforded the protection provided by no-take National Park (IUCN Category I-II) Zones;
- Fundamentally important inshore and shallow water habitats are therefore under-represented and under-protected; and
- The proposed zoning plans specifically excises areas (e.g., port areas) to minimise impacts on shipping, but many of these nearshore areas are also critically important and environmentally sensitive areas of marine habitat and the likely entry point for introduced marine species.
AMSA made ten recommendations with details to support these views in the submission.