Threatened Species Day - Coral Sea Perspective

Protecting Our Threatened Marine Species:

Maori Humphead Wrasse, an endangered species. By Tyrone CanningAustralia’s marine environment is more than twice the area of the Australian continent and under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea we have both the rights and the responsibilities to this area.  This Threatened Species Day we acknowledge and celebrate some of the marine species that we have responsibility for.  In Australia’s Coral Sea 341 bird and animal species are included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Of these, 5 Red List species are taken commercially within the Coral Sea: the Humphead or Maori Wrasse (endangered), Bigeye Tuna (vulnerable) and Yellowfin Tuna, Albacore Tuna and Striped Marlin (near threatened).

Threatened Tuna and Billfishes:

 The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has announced that, for the first time, all species of scombrids (tunas, bonitos, mackerels and Spanish mackerels) and billfishes (swordfish and marlins) have been assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  The results show that the situation is particularly serious for tunas.  Five of the eight species of tuna are in the threatened or Near Threatened IUCN Red List Categories.  The IUCN also reported that most of the long-lived, economically valuable, species are considered threatened. They mature later than short-lived species and their reproductive turnover is longer, and as such recovery from population declines take more time.

Yellowfin Tuna by C&M Fallows

Taking Positive Steps Forward:

 Right now the federal government is considering the future of the Coral Sea within Australian waters. The federal government has recognised the value of the Coral Sea by declaring a Conservation Zone over the entire area, but this does no change existing uses, and it’s a temporary measure. We need the government to go further and create the world’s largest permanent marine park.  By protecting the Coral Sea we can make this area a safe haven for the 341 IUCN red-listed species which live there.

Showing the Way:

Prominent Australians have added their support to the creation of a Coral Sea Marine Park. Protect our Coral Sea Ambassadors; John Williamson, Jesse Martin, Pat Rafter, Tim Winton, Kristy Hinze, Akira Isogawa and Isabel Lucas have all added their voice in a new video being released to coincide with Threatened Species Day, urging Australians to help protect our Coral Sea. “Under the ocean there are hundreds of threatened species, so I am 100% behind a huge marine park in the Coral Sea." said  musician John Williamson. Striped Marlin by Doug Perrine - Seapics Tim Winton believes, “The Coral Sea is one of the world's last great refuges for marine species and right now we have a historic opportunity to turn it into one of the world's greatest marine parks, but we need your help.  Please, sign up, and help us protect the Coral Sea.”

Watch the Threatened Species Day video and read more on how you can help protect our Coral Sea at

Image Credits:

- Yellowfin Tuna by C&M Fallows
- Striped Marlin by Doug Perrine - Seapics
- Maori Humphead Wrasse by Tyrone Canning

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