Saturday, March 2, 2024

Marine park rezoning plans announced

This week Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor and Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan announced the next stages of the Jervis Bay and Solitary Islands Marine Park Zoning Plan reviews.

According to Sartor, “The Government plans to improve the management of existing marine parks rather than establish new ones.”

“Jervis Bay Marine Park was established in January 1998 and covers around 21,400 hectares of waters.

“The Zoning Plan for the multiple-use park began in October 2002 and has been reviewed, giving the community further input into the parks’ management.

“The review was informed by a two-month community consultation, advice from the local advisory committee, and significant new scientific information including state of the art seabed mapping”.

The Marine Parks Authority has drafted adjustments to the Jervis Bay Marine Park which will go on public exhibition for three months.

Steve Whan said community surveys show strong local support for Jervis Bay Marine Park with 82 per cent of people in favour of sanctuary zones.

“This is reflected in the strong community input to the Zoning Plan with more than 680 submissions received and 41 information sessions,” Whan said.

Under proposed changes, 80 per cent of the Jervis Bay Marine Park will allow recreational fishing. No changes to the park’s boundary are being proposed.

(For a full assessment of the rezoning proposals for Jervis Bay Marine Park read Jim Harnwell’s Comment here). 

Under the next stage of the Solitary Islands (Coffs Harbour) Marine Park Zoning Plan review some of the recommendations are:

• Improving access to a small area of the Groper Island sanctuary zone to allow seasonal spearfishing and line fishing.

• Reducing the complexity of the zoning plan by straightening boundaries and simplifying recreational fishing restrictions around particular species.

• Reducing impacts of commercial fishing activities through a total prohibition on prawn trawling within 2 years.

• Improving protection for key habitats, increasing the area of sanctuary zone in the park from 12 to 20 per cent.

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For more information on the marine park rezoning proposals go to:

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