Captain of the Sea Shepherd protest ship, Paul Watson.
Captain of the Sea Shepherd protest ship, Paul Watson. Brett Wortman

Sea Shepherd: Coral Sea protectors

AN international marine conservation group has offered to protect Australia's Coral Sea from illegal fishing.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson made the offer after concerns were raised last week about how the government would enforce a planned marine park in the Coral Sea.

"Our program in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, is a model example of how our organisation can support a local government in protecting its shark population and marine ecosystems," he said.

"We have contributed more than $4 million toward the acquisition of a patrol boat, the installation of vessel identification systems, training, enforcement, a team of fin-sniffing patrol dogs, and legal support for prosecution."

The government has already said a management plan will be put in place for the Coral Sea, which is likely to include an authority similar to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.