THE radical environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has offered to police the federal government's proposed Coral Sea Marine Park against poachers using its team of shark-fin sniffer dogs _ free of charge.
Sea Shepherd, best known for its pursuit of Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, said it would provide expertise, vessels and resources to guard the new marine park.
Fishing groups say the federal government's proposed marine reserves would be under-policed and vulnerable to poachers.
Sea Shepherd said enforcement would be key to the success of the marine parks. Without it, foreign fishing vessels would continue to exploit the region's fragile ecosystems through poaching, over-fishing, shark-finning and other illegal activities.
Founder Paul Watson said: "Sea Shepherd is prepared to work with any government or local agency to protect their waters. We stand ready to put our enforcement expertise to work for Australia's Coral Sea."
Sea Shepherd's Galapagos Islands mission included a team of fin-sniffing patrol dogs to counter illegal shark fishing.