Marine protection just isn't happening!

4th March 2011. The Victorian Auditor General’s Report "Environmental Management of Marine Protected Areas" tabled this week (March 2nd) in Parliament sounds the alarm on who is (NOT) protecting our marine environment! 
The audit reveals just how ineffectively marine protected areas have been managed to protect biodiversity. It assessed the roles of Parks Victoria and the Departments of Sustainability and Environment and Primary Industries, finding that Parks Victoria could not show that marine biodiversity is being protected. Only 10% of the $38 million allocated to protection of marine biodiversity could be shown to have been appropriately discharged.
Just what was the rest of the money spent on then? Certainly not in protecting Port Phillip Bay from the damage we see to the Portsea coastline or protecting it from the massive unregulated toxic dump we now have in the middle of the Bay compliments of the Port of Melbourne!
The report also warns that Government is failing to protect coastal waters from invasive pests and diseases, and recommends the development of a marine pest biosecurity plan. Now that’s an issue which shipping and ports have a LOT to answer for. The Federal government has identified at least 43 threatened species and 4 nationally significant aquatic systems in Port Phillip Bay, so there's plenty Parks Vicotria could have been doing!
Port Phillip Bay with its thousands of ship visits per year currently has over 400 invasive pest species and growing, whilst Westernport Bay with its approx 200 ship visits per year has only a very small number of invasive pests – around 10 when we last checked. Ships ballast water and the hulls of ships are the main vectors for invasive marine species, but the shipping industry isn’t very interested in spending the money to address the issue. So, Mr. Baillieu’s port expansion plans would likely mean an explosion in marine pests in Westernport.
Interesting and alarming report on ballast water: ABC Science Show: and how trade facilitates the movement and impacts of invasive species: ABC 2003 Earthbeat transcript at:

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