Abstracts of Conference Papers
The Commonwealth Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982( the Act) has recently been amended so that all syngnaths ( seahorses, pipefish and seadragons ) and solenostomids (ghost pipefish) are subject to export controls as of Jan 1 1998. Recognising the international interests and demand for synnathid species, particularly in the traditional Chinese medicine and marine fish aquarium markets, as a precautionary measure, these species are now subject to export controls to regulate and monitor the export trade.
Where it is proposed to export these species (including live animals and products derived from these species) the grant of an export permit/authority from Environment Australia will be required. Export permits will only be granted where these species have been obtained from either an approved breeding (aquaculture ) operation (operated in a manner that satisfies Regulation 8 of the Act) or taken under an approved harvesting regime under section 10A of the ACT.
Dr Mark Norman
Southern Australian waters contain a dazzling array of marine organisms found in no other region of the world. Many of the plants and animals along this temperate coastline have origins dating back to the break up of the Gondwana continent and the long slow drift north of Australia. Others are more recent invasions resulting from the Australian landmass gliding into tropical latitudes.
When we talk of the diversity of life in this region, we need to both define what we mean by the term "biodiversity" and how we might go about protecting it. Biodiversity means different things to different people:
If we intend to educate about biodiversity, we need to make clear decisions on our interpretation of the term. If it means sheer numbers of species/unit area, what do we do with counts of 700 invertebrate species in a single square metre of sand in Bass Strait?
Do we draw a taxonomic line and only concentrate on the "higher" levels? Or do we concentrate on charismatic megafauna such as dolphins or seahorses and hope the rest are carried along with it?
In the current political and economic climate, priorities are often decided as to where funds will be spent. If priorities need to be made, we need to present hierarchies of importance or urgency. I propose that there are three top priorities for the protection of southern Australian biodiversity:
Finally we need to examine and discuss our own complicit involvement in processes destructive to southern Australian marine flora and fauna. The following questions need to be asked:
The role of conferences such as this one should not be to preach to the converted or stay with the safe easy topics for marine education, but rather to debate issues such as these and decide on meaningful priority areas and achievable goals.