Labor launches three point plan for marine biodiversity - On International Day for Biological Diversity

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The NSW Labor Opposition will today launch a three point plan for marine biodiversity – with a special focus on the internationally endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Marine Biodiversity is the theme for this year's International Day for Biological Diversity, which is celebrated worldwide today (22 May).

To coincide with the International Day of Biological Diversity, Australian Seabird Rescue will also release three rare hawksbill sea turtles at 10.30am today in Byron Bay.

NSW Labor is calling on the O’Farrell Government to:

  • Protect the internationally endangered hawksbill sea turtle; 
  • Reinstate protections for the critically endangered grey nurse shark; and
  • Lift its five year moratorium on marine parks.

 “The O’Farrell Government should do the right thing by our environment on the International Day forBiological Diversity and implement my three point plan for marine biodiversity,” Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said.

“As a first step, Environment Minister Robyn Parker should request the NSW Scientific Committee to make a determination on the possible addition of the hawksbill sea turtle to the State’s Threatened Species List, to give this rare and beautiful creature the protection it deserves.

“Hawksbill sea turtles are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, with fewer than 25,000 nesting per year worldwide.

“Last year, 88 hawksbill sea turtles were stranded in NSW. This was the worst year on record.

“Hawksbill sea turtles are harvested in the Solomon Islands and Fiji and sold onto the black market to supply the Japanese Bekko industry.

“The beautiful shell of the hawksbill sea turtle is the sole source of commercial 'tortoise shell'. As a consequence they have been hunted to near extinction.

"Secondly, the O'Farrell Government needs to immediately reinstate protections on the State's mid north coast for the Grey Nurse Shark, which were rescinded by the Coalition within weeks of coming to power.

“Finally, the O’Farrell Government should lift its disgraceful five year moratorium on marine parks in NSW.

“An independent audit has confirmed marine parks play a valuable role protecting our fragile marine environments, so the government has been forced to order a review of their own review because it told them exactly what they didn’t want to hear.

"Today of all days, Environment Minister Robyn Parker should come out of hiding, and finally act toprotect our fragile marine environment.”