Marine Park debate still brewing

EMOTIONS continue to run high on the proposed Solitary Islands Marine Park expansion as the waiting game for the plan’s final outcome wears on.

The existing protection zones around the Solitary Islands Marine Park could be expanded under the plan with the aim of protecting marine biodiversity and sustainability, according to the NSW Marine Parks Authority.

The Marine Parks Authority concluded a period of community consultation in September, with the final plan to be revealed after these submissions are evaluated.

However, the proposal has been met with opposition from commercial and recreational fishers who were concerned the extra zones could severely limit the areas in which they could fish.

Wooli resident Bob Howard said he had been fishing in the Solitary Islands area for at least 35 years and was concerned people involved in the plan’s decision-making process didn’t understand the impact their choices would make on small villages like Wooli.

“It bothers me that some of these boof-heads sit in an air-conditioned office in Sydney without knowing anything about the area,” Mr Howard said.

“These people who make these decisions are not aware of what’s going on; in the back of their minds they probably think they’re doing the right thing, but I don’t think they’ve done enough research over a long enough period of time to be able to make the decisions they’re making.”

Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell weighed into the issue recently and in a statement said he was concerned the current Federal Government minority configuration and its need to maintain the support of the Greens Party – who support the expansion of marine protection zones – could mean public opposition to the proposed changes could fall on deaf ears.



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