NSW Government lessens Marine Park fishing restrictions

THE NSW Government will lift fishing restrictions in some marine park sanctuary zones following an independent audit assessment of marine parks in the state. 

Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson and Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker today announced decisions around NSW marine parks management will be based on science and in the long term interest of community, marine ecosystems and industry.

“The NSW Government is delivering on its election commitment for a common sense marine parks policy and is supporting the principal recommendations of the Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Among the changes announced today will be an amnesty on fishing beaches and ocean rocks within sanctuary zones, apart from areas set aside to protect threatened species i.e. grey nurse sharks. Unchanged is the Burrewarra Point rock ledge in the Batemans Bay Marine Park which remains closed to fishing.   

Read more in Beaches & Headlands fact sheet.

In changes to marine parks management, the NSW Government has established two new advisory bodies, the Marine Estate Management Authority, to replace the existing Marine Parks Authority, and the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel. 

Read media release.

“After years of political interference and decisions based on poor or incomplete science by the previous Labor Government, the credibility of Marine Parks and our fishing industries has been undermined,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Government’s vision is for a balance between economic growth, particularly in our regional communities, and conserving our marine ecosystems leading to a greater appreciation of its unique value,” Ms Parker said.

Associate Professor Bob Beeton, Chair of the Audit Panel, said the key recommendations for effective and sustainable management are captured in the Government’s response and will benefit recreational and commercial interests, marine biodiversity and the community.

Read more in Government Response Fact Sheet – Marine Park audit.

“These changes will not adversely impact the commercial fishing industry, which is currently undergoing significant reform, and industry can take confidence that future decisions around access to resources will be undertaken in an independent and transparent manner,’ Ms Hodgkinson said.

The Marine Estate Management Authority will replace the Marine Parks Authority and will be informed by the work of the Expert Knowledge Panel, providing inependent advice across ecology, economics, and social sciences.

“I am pleased to announce two eminent individuals to lead the respective organisations who have extensive experience in public administration, natural resource management and economics. The independent chair of the Authority is Dr Wendy Craik and the independent chair of the Expert Knowledge Panel is Dr Andrew Stoeckel,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

The Authority will convene its first meeting in coming weeks. Expressions of interest for the remaining Expert Knowledge Panel positions are now open.

For further information visit www.marine.nsw.gov.au

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