The NSW Government’s process to address the gap in marine protection in the Hawkesbury bioregion continues with the recent release of the Threat and Risk Assessment and Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper outlines eight initiatives for addressing the threats and risks in the region, including tackling water quality and pollution, user conflicts and “spatial management”.
“Spatial management” is fisheries jargon for putting in place zones or reserves. Right now we have a series of small aquatic reserves in the region, but as acknowledged in the discussion paper, these are woefully inadequate. Unfortunately, a Marine Park is only one of three sub-options under spatial management. In other words, despite the science and the public support, we may go through all this to find that we have a few spruced up aquatic reserves and not much else to show for it.
The good news is that there is a public consultation process underway right now, and URG has been invited to attend two workshops. I’ll report back on these in the next issue of the Bulletin, but in the meantime there is something else we can all do. The general public is free to make individual submissions, so if we want a Marine Park we really need to get involved in that. The discussion paper, background paper and link for submissions are here http://www.marine.nsw.gov.au/key-initiatives/hawkesbury-shelf-marine-assessment
If you want to make a personal submission, contact me and I will send you some key points. The more voices the better – we might never get a better chance than this to have our say to conserve the wonderful marine life on our doorstep.