Independent Scientific Audit on Marine Parks Recommendations
Responses needed by 30th June.
I know we are suffering marine park submission fatigue but the NSW Government needs to keep hearing the message that marine parks are important, are supported by local communities, that they work and that we need more of them. Our motivation must match that of marine park opponents.
Some matters you may want to raise in your submission:
- That you strongly agree with the Panel recommendation that the current system of marine parks as established in NSW be maintained and mechanisms be found for enhancing the protection of biodiversity in the identified gaps.
- That you agree marine parks are needed in the Hawkesbury and Twofold Shelf marine bioregions.
- The establishment of marine parks receives solid support from an overwhelming majority of the Australian scientific community.
- Australia has long standing international obligations to establish a system of protected areas.
- NSW committed to the implementation of a National Representative System for Marine Protected Areas (NRSMPA) in 1998.
- There is substantial evidence worldwide and from Australia that marine parks and reserves are effective at conserving biodiversity, particularly where extractive uses are excluded.
- That the Government should immediately remove the current moratorium on new marine parks to achieve this – noting the Panel statement that the…recommendations made in this report do not in any way preclude the possibility of new marine protected areas being proposed in NSW.
- That you want to see the government enact immediate 1500m sanctuary zones at the grey nurse shark’s small critical habitat sites along the NSW coast.
- That you agree with the Audit’s comment that “NSW has an opportunity to establish a management framework for its Marine Estate that will future-proof it against public policy failure and natural catastrophe, while at the same time providing for a balanced and equitable system of the management of all the demands we place on the resources of the NSW Marine Estate”.
- That you believe the Panel’s recommendation for governance of the NSW Marine Estate to be reorganised by bringing the entire estate under one legislative and administrative structure requires further consideration because there is also strong merit in separation between the agency that has the mandate to regulate for conservation and the agency that regulates resource use.
- That you agree there would be benefits to establishing an independent Scientific Committee to provide guidance on managing the NSW Marine Estate. Given the scope of research required to fill our knowledge gaps concerning marine species and ecological systems and the fundamental importance of research to underpin sound decisions on marine resource use, the establishment of an independent Scientific Committee is a sensible strategy.
- That you agree with the Panel’s recommendation for research into the threat fishing poses to the conservation of biodiversity in NSW and the environmental protected values of the Marine Estate.
- That you agree with the need to extend the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) system to include a greater focus on marine, estuarine and inshore environments (R5).
- There are significant knowledge gaps that should be filled including: better information on the ecosystem effects of fishing and the integration of this information into the annual stock assessment of commercial and recreational fishing; and recreational fishing (including distribution of effort, catch, discards of by-catch and ecosystem impacts) must be evaluated and the results of that incorporated into marine park management.
- That you agree with the Panel recommendation that local Indigenous knowledge and expertise be explicitly incorporated into the establishment and ongoing management of NSW marine parks and the NSW Marine Estate and the establishment of an Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Aboriginal Cadet Program in each marine park.
- That you agree with the Panel recommendation for the NSW Government to mandate better integration of land-use planning regulations with the NSW Marine Estate and marine park management.
- That you look forward to the Government immediately revoking the moratorium on new marine parks and sanctuaries as an immediate first step towards ecologically responsible management of the state’s marine estate.