Australia has taken a step closer to putting in place tough new laws to protect some of the world’s most endangered whales, including the northern spotted owl, the southern spotted owl and the grey whale.
The Government will introduce the controversial new legislation this week, but conservationists say it will have the opposite effect.
Key points:The Northern spotted owl was recently listed as endangered in Australia by the International Union for Conservation of NatureBut the Northern spotted owls numbers have dwindled over the past few years in the Southern Hemisphere because of poaching, habitat destruction and climate changeThe Northern and southern spotted owl populations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have been declining for decades, and are now the only known populations in both hemispheres.
“This new law will go a long way towards preventing further decline in these magnificent animals and will allow us to maintain our national wildlife heritage and the protection of our coastal waters,” Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said.
The Northern & Southern Hemipenes are considered the most endangered species in the world and are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered in Australia.
“These new laws will make sure these species will continue to thrive and thrive, which is good news for the marine mammals that rely on them for food, habitat and protection from the elements,” he said.
“They also will allow the Government to work with industry and conservation to create a system that can work.”
The Northern Sled Owl is currently the only remaining northern spotted owle in the Western Hemisphere, with numbers declining by about 80% since the late 1980s.
The species is listed as critically endangered in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
But conservationists believe the northern Sled Owls numbers will only increase, with a reduction in numbers occurring over the coming decades.
The new legislation will allow for a range of measures to help the species survive and thrive in a changing climate.
The legislation will create a marine sanctuary for the Northern & South Sled owls, which will provide them with a range for habitat, habitat protection and access to food.
The area will also be reclassified as a marine park, which allows for a higher degree of protection of species in its waters.
The northern spotted osprey, which has been listed as Criticically Endulnerable in the United States and the UK, will be protected under the new legislation, while the Southern Sled Osprey will be classified as endangered.
“The Northern Sighted Owls are a critically endangered species and this new law means that they will no longer be protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which was introduced in 2014 to protect the Northern Sighteds,” Dr Paul Brown from the Queensland Wildlife Conservation Society (QWC) said.
He said the legislation would also allow for the protection and release of northern spotted turtles in the area, which are considered to be critically endangered.
The introduction of the new regulations comes after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called for a global action plan to save the world from global warming.
The Australian Government announced in September it will support a global effort to reduce emissions by 40% by 2050, and would use its existing climate plan to set targets for cutting emissions, and the creation of a marine protected area to protect them.
The United Nations has been calling for action to cut emissions by 50% by 2020.
Australia’s Government has pledged to spend $50 million over three years on projects to protect species under threat, and also to invest in better technologies to help them survive in changing conditions.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the measures were not intended to replace the existing marine protected areas.
“A new marine protected environment will be created as part of the Climate Change Action Plan and will provide marine protection in the southern hemisphere, including southern spotted and northern spotted species,” a statement said.
But the NT Government said the Northern Sleeves and the Northern Seals had been protected for thousands of years.
“There’s a reason why the northern seals are known as the most beautiful in the south, they have a deep history of living in the deep waters and have adapted to the conditions there,” NT Environment Minister Jason Clare said.