Protect Marine Parks
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Marine sanctuaries are small special zones within marine parks that act like national parks in the sea. They are places where nature is protected. They are the best way we know of conserving the web of life in coastal waters — from seals and penguins to snapper to sea slugs — and all the other myriad lifeforms that make up our marine ecosystems. They are also vital nurseries for all sorts of sea life.
Unfortunately over the past few years the NSW government has chipped away at the hard-fought environmental protections you and others have helped achieve for our marine life. For example, the government has turned a blind eye to illegal fishing in sanctuary zones, which is like letting shooters loose in national parks. It has also removed top-level protections in some areas by revoking their Marine Sanctuary status.
The government is now overhauling its management of the marine park estate. It is vital that we speak up for nature to protect these important ecologies.
We will be collating all signatories into a joint submission. However, if you would like to be more involved please consider reading the Draft NSW Mainland Marine Park Network Management Plan 2021 - 2031 and responding directly try to the survey at yoursay.marine.nsw.gov.au/stage-1 (requires registration).
PROTECT MARINE PARKS SUBMISSION
The Draft NSW Mainland Marine Park Network Management Plan 2021-2031 has some positive elements, but it contains very serious risks.
NSW has six incredible Marine Parks, but less than 7% of our stunning coastlines are protected in the special marine sanctuary zones that are the best way we have to protect marine life from the ravages of over-fishing and pollution. Not only are marine sanctuaries the best current method of protecting vulnerable populations of marine life, but the benefits of sanctuaries extend to commercial interests as they act as vitally important nurseries. Every year, billions of juvenile fish, crustaceans and other sea species spill out of sanctuaries as plankton, drifting on the currents to replenish wild stocks up and down the coast.
Marine sanctuaries are necessary to maintain the biodiversity and ecosystem services of our marine system, reversing or eroding protections would be a huge step backwards and a mistake not easily reversed. We the undersigned call on the government to ensure the Draft NSW Mainland Marine Park Network Management Plan 2021-2031 protects the integrity of marine parks by:
- maintaining and expanding our Marine Sanctuaries,
- strengthening existing protections for marine life,
- properly funding effective marine conservation, and
- publishing a comprehensive report on the community feedback it has received.
Effective marine parks are the best method of protecting marine ecology and we request that the integrity of NSW marine parks is enhanced and the environmental protection purpose of marine parks and sanctuaries is not undermined by economic pressures.