Sea Shepherd offers to police Coral Sea Marine Park

Sea Shepherd
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Anti-whaling crusaders Sea Shepherd have offered to help the Australian government police a proposed marine park in the Coral Sea against illegal fishing.

The statement from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was in response to the former federal Liberal MP Peter Lindsay pointing out it would not be possible to properly police the proposed park. The proposed marine park in the Coral Sea covers an area more than half the size of Queensland and includes critical nesting sites for the green turtle.

Sea Shepherd stated it could provide vessels and would welcome representatives of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority aboard their ships.

'The organisation would work alongside the appropriate Australian authorities to design strategies, implement appropriate programs and facilitate prosecution of illegal fishing activities,' Sea Shepherd said.

In response to the Sea Shepherd announcement federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said surveillance of marine parks was usually done by direct government action. He also said it would be a while until surveillance decisions were made.

'Dive, recreational fishing, commercial fishing and environmental sectors have all offered to help with surveillance in different ways,' Mr Burke said. 'Enforcement becomes a decision for the director of national parks and that doesn't happen until after these areas have been fully proclaimed and management plans are in place,' he said.