Mid-North Coast marine sanctuaries under threat
The NSW Nature Conservation Council is encouraging the Mid-North Coast community to send the Baird Government a clear message that they want local marine sanctuaries restored.
The call follows the launch of a community consultation into the Baird Government's plans to permanently revoke sanctuary protections from two sites in the Solitary Islands Marine Park - Minnie Water Back Beach and Bare Bluff to Diggers Point and Moonee Beach near Emerald Beach
The revocations affect 10 beaches and headlands across four marine parks in NSW. The consultation will run until 13 November 2015.
"Marine sanctuaries are essential for protecting marine life and ensuring our healthy lifestyle for the future," Nature Conservation Council Campaigns Director Daisy Barham said.
"We are calling on the Government to act on the Mid-North Coast community's support for marine sanctuaries and to restore protection to the two local marine sanctuaries. This action will be an important first step in rebuilding the legacy of environmental cuts by the former O'Farrell Government.
"This will be a crucial test for Mike Baird who says that protecting our marine environment is important to him. This is his chance to match his talk with action and restore all ten marine sanctuaries.
"The NCC will be making a strong case to Government that the marine sanctuaries should be fully restored and new areas across the state considered for protection. It's shocking to know that right now less than 7% of our coastline is highly protected as marine sanctuaries.
The Government's own scientific audit recommended maintaining the current system of marine parks and enhancing the protection of biodiversity in a number of additional areas.
"A 2014 Galaxy poll of 1000 residents across NSW found 90% of recreational fishers support no-take marine sanctuaries which protect important natural areas.
"You need fish to fish and sanctuary zones are the best way to ensure we have fish for the future, both for improving biodiversity in the ocean but also to support activities like fishing, snorkeling and diving. Many local businesses are built on the environmental values and productive marine life promoted by marine parks and sanctuary zones.
"Mid-North Coast ocean users and everyone with an interest in healthy oceans have an opportunity to show the Baird Government they support expanding marine sanctuary zones and want these important protections restored," Ms Barham said.
The public can access the Government's web-portal for submissions here.
· A 2014 Galaxy poll of 1000 NSW residents found that 90% of recreational fishers support no-take marine sanctuaries which protect important natural areas;
· NSW has 6 Marine Parks including Cape Byron, Solitary Islands, Port Stephens-Great Lakes, Jervis Bay, Batemans and Lord Howe Island. 4 of these parks are affected by the proposed zoning changes;
· Less than 7% of NSW's coastal waters are fully protected in marine sanctuaries.
The following beaches and headlands are proposed to have sanctuary protections removed:
Cape Byron Marine Park:
- Tyagarah Beach
- East Cape Byron
Solitary Islands Marine Park (near Coffs Harbour):
- Minnie Water Back Beach
- Bare Bluff to Diggers Point and Moonee Beach
Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park:
- Celito South
- Fiona Beach
Batemans Marine Park:
- North Head
- Congo Point South Beach and Mullimburra Point to Bingie Beach
- Brou Beach
- Bullengella Beach and Bogola Head Beach to Loader Beach