Prince Charles on a boat

Wise use of ocean resources key to ‘blue economy’, says Prince Charles

Image credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

During his tour of Australia, the Prince of Wales has urged businesses to help protect the ocean, and promoted the concept of a sustainable economy based on the sea and its resources.

The Prince – who has dedicated decades of work towards conservation in the UK and abroad – observed the coral reef from a glass-bottomed boat during his visit. He was taken on a tour of the Marine National Park Green Zone, which receives the highest level of government protection, and is renowned for its diverse marine life, including birds, turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and whales.

“It is not only important to conserve these vitally important ecosystems but we must allow nature to restore what has been lost,” said Charles, speaking to a roundtable discussion of politicians and leaders of businesses - including Disney and Qantas - on Lady Elliot Island.

During the discussion, Charles and other attendees discussed how the private sector could play a role in protecting the reefs.

Prince Charles with Irwin family

Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Image credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Charles also took time to meet the Irwin family – the wife and children of popular conservationist Steve Irwin – who were also present at the meeting. Steve Irwin’s widow, Terri Irwin, described Charles as “an inspiration” for his work bringing people together to discuss the environment.

During an interview with local media, Charles warned that the world was at a “crossroads” when it came to protecting reefs like the Great Barrier Reef.

“I have no doubt in my mind that this will need to be a central aspect of the rapidly emerging concept of a sustainable ‘blue economy’, through which sustainable economic development is achieved via the wise use of ocean resources,” he said.

“Within the blue economy, it would be helpful to think of coral reef ecosystems as natural capital assets, assets that require the kind of prudent and wise management that will yield dividends long into the future.”

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