Environment

Greens “wrong” on SA marine parks

WITH just over two months until the October 1 implementation date for controversial marine park sanctuary zones in South Australia, the Greens have launched an email campaign against the Liberal Marine Parks (Sanctuary Zones) Amendment Bill.

The Bill, introduced by opposition environment spokeswoman Michelle Lensink, is likely to be debated in the House of Assembly in August after recently passing the Legislative Council.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell said on his Save Our Marine Parks campaign page that “two weeks ago in the Upper House of State Parliament, the Liberals, Family First and Xenophons voted to abolish 12 sanctuary zones in seven marine parks. These sanctuary zones are part of the 6 per cent of state waters that are to be protected from commercial and recreational fishing in order to conserve marine species and future fish stocks”.

Parnell’s statement has left some South Australian recreational fishers to express that “if ever it was unclear and disguised before, this statement demonstrates once and for all that sanctuary zones are primarily about an anti-fishing agenda”.

Responding to the Greens’ campaign, Ms Lensink said that the Greens are targeting ministers Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith, who hold the two critical votes that will determine the fate of the Bill.

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South Australia’s opposition environment spokeswoman, Michelle Lensink MLC. Image: wikipedia

“The Greens say sanctuary zones protect marine biodiversity and increase fish stocks, including in surrounding areas,” Ms Lensink said. “We say: The data quoted about ‘spillover effects’ has been grossly and misleadingly overstated by DEWNR and the Government. It also ignores the role that effective fisheries management plays in managing fish stocks in South Australia.

“The Greens say sanctuary zones were developed after comprehensive community consultation over many years. We say: Most of it wasn’t consultation; it was ‘announce and defend’ and bullying of regional communities. In any case, the Government’s stacked process regarding zoning in April 2012 overturned significant community advice and consensus.

“The Greens say protecting only 6 per cent of SA waters is already a compromise and far less than the scientists said was needed to properly protect our marine environment.We say: There is no scientific target – this is just what the Greens say. In fact, 42 per cent of all of the state’s waters are contained within marine parks outer boundaries and are considered ‘under management’ under the Convention on Biological Diversity.”

“The Greens say protecting marine life in sanctuary zones makes economic sense if we want long-term fishing and tourism industries. We say: It’s the role of fisheries management to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishing – not marine parks. Many South Australian coastal towns rely on recreational fishing to attract tourists.

“If you would like to email these MPs to put an alternative view to the Greens’ 1970s approach to conservation, Mr Brock can be emailed at frome@parliament.sa.gov.au and Mr Hamilton-Smith at waite@parliament.sa.gov.au. I’m sure that they will appreciate your individual thoughts on these issues, but it made me feel better to rebut each of the Greens’ arguments myself,” Ms Lensink said.

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