Environment

Minister to scrap changes to Marine Parks

THE NSW Government is set to abolish changes to the zoning plans for the Jervis Bay and
Solitary Islands marine parks made by the former Labor Government, Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker said today.

Minister Hodgkinson will today move in the Legislative Assembly that Labor’s recent zoning regulations be disallowed.

The decision means fishing rules in both marine parks will revert to those in place before
March 2011, which have been in place since 2002. The use of the marine park for
recreational purposes is unchanged.

The Ministers said there will be thorough community consultation before any future zoning
plans for Jervis Bay and Solitary Islands marine parks are implemented.

“The NSW Government is committed to commonsense marine parks policy that is based
on science, not politics,” Minister Hodgkinson said.

“We will disallow these most recent changes, overturning Labor’s politically motivated
plans for Jervis Bay and Solitary Islands.

“This will ensure the fishing rules revert back to those that have been in place since 2002,
which the community, in particular the fishing community, had only just become
accustomed to.

Minister Parker said the NSW Government has also committed to an independent
scientific audit of the effectiveness of the existing zoning arrangements within marine
parks.

“Any marine park policy must find the right balance between protecting the marine
environment and providing opportunities for fishing, diving, whale watching and other
activities that generate opportunities for tourism,” Minister Parker said.

Minister Parker also welcomed greater scrutiny of marine parks.

In a press release the Australian Marine Conservation Society has slammed the government’s decision, which it says will see the percentage of sanctuary zones in the Solitary Islands Marine Park reduced from 19 to 12 per cent, and trawlers allowed back into Jervis Bay Marine Park.

Spokesman for the Nature Conservation Council, Pepe Clarke, has also condemned the zoning decision, saying complaints about inadequate consultation are ridiculous.

“In the case of Solitary Islands more than 6500 submissions were received in response to the draft zoning plan. There were dozens of stakeholder meetings and community information days . The consultation extended over a three month period,” Clarke told the ABC.

“So any claim that this zoning plan was rushed through in the dying days of the previous government is unfounded.”

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