Media Release, Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Ningaloo to float in sea of sinking reefs: Leading scientists

Today the Save Ningaloo campaign welcomed the release of the world’s foremost assessment of coral reefs. It calls for urgent protection to arrest the decline of the world’s remaining reefs.

The report referred to the decision to protect 34% of Ningaloo as a ‘landmark decision.’

The report’s editor, Dr Clive Wilkinson from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) said, “Without such actions, Australia’s reefs could easily go the way of those in other countries...”

Dr Wilkinson’s comments reiterate the comments about Ningaloo from Professor Terry Hughes, the world’s most widely cited coral reef scientist who said, “As a scientist, I’m prepared to set a precedent; there is more than enough scientific evidence to justify protecting areas of coral reefs from fishing.”

“The argument that we need Ningaloo-specific data is like saying smoking kills the Dutch and New Zealanders, but not Australians.”

Professor Hughes went on to say that WA’s reefs are much more vulnerable to the effects of bleaching (where unusually warm water kills coral, turning it white) than those of the Great Barrier Reef, because they are isolated from one another.

Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson said, “The public debate about Ningaloo sanctuary zones in recent days has suffered from a lack of input from coral reef scientists. The message is clear, the responsible steps taken by the Government to protect Ningaloo mean it will be much more resilient to the effects of climate change.”

Note to editors: New stills and broadcast quality footage of Ningaloo corals and wildlife by Emmy Award winning cinematographer David Hannan are available from the Campaign.

Reference: Status of coral reefs of the world: 2004, Edited by Clive Wilkins

Australian Marine Conservation Society Conservation Council of WA
World Wildlife Fund
Conservation Council of WA

Media Contact: Paul Gamblin, Save Ningaloo campaign spokesperson,


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