P. A. Hutchings, 2003. "Threatened Species Management: out of its depth for marine invertebrates", Conserving Marine Environments: Out of sight, out of mind, Pat Hutchings, Daniel Lunney
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The usefulness of listing individual marine species under Threatened Species legislation is discussed with respect to the characteristics of the marine environment and its biota. It is suggested that, apart from ‘flagship species’, this is not a useful strategy to follow. Instead, habitats need to be conserved. However, it needs to be stressed that threatening processes impacting on a habitat may originate from sources way beyond the habitat in question. The Great Barrier Reef illustrates this point well. Here water quality is, in large part, determined by catchment flows, which have a major effect on the communities of the GBR. Although our knowledge of the biota of the marine environment is limited, we must act now to manage and conserve it. We cannot wait until the identification and biology of all marine organisms has been documented. One of the next steps is to bring the marine environment into our mind and see that its future existence is inextricably part of our existence. Marine environments are different to those on land and need different management strategies. The major lesson is that we need to move from species conservation to a workable system of threatened habitat and ecosystem process management for the marine environment.