Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Environment Matters

Barnett sits on his hands while the waters of Cottesloe warm

Greens Statement

The Greens have developed a comprehensive plan to monitor and mitigate the impacts of rising ocean temperatures on the WA marine environment.

Releasing the plan on Cottesloe Beach this morning Greens Senator Rachel Siewert and Greens candidate for North Metro Cameron Poustie said we were already witnessing the impacts of ocean warming and research was urgently needed to keep abreast of the changes.

“Increasing shark presence, mass fish deaths, invasive species and coral bleaching off Rottnest are just some of the incidents being put down to ocean warming,” Senator Siewert said.

“The WA Government is sitting on its hands hoping that the warming waters are an aberration but that is simply not good enough.

“We can’t afford to sit back and hope the problem goes away. We need to act now to make sure we can mitigate the impact of this potential social, economic and environmental disaster that is on our doorstep.”

The Greens plan includes an increased investment in research into the drivers for ocean warming; monitoring invasive species that might colonise our warmer waters; and the development of adaptation plans to help protect the marine environment from the effects of rising temperatures.

Also included in the plan are marine sanctuaries that could help shield fish species that were able to adapt to increased ocean temperatures from being overfished and a major economic impact study to look into what effects a warming ocean might have on industries from fishing to tourism.

Mr Poustie said areas like Cottesloe would be hit hard by any further warming of the ocean.

“Already some people are saying they won’t swim at Cottesloe beach anymore because of  the sharks. Others are complaining that the fish they used to catch have disappeared,” Mr Poustie said.

“We need good solid research to keep up with these changes so we can sort fact from fiction and put appropriate management plans in place to lessen the impacts of any further rises in ocean temperature.”

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