Busselton/Dunsborough Mail: South West stands up to fed gov to save marine sanctuaries

MORE than 200 South West businesses have joined forces to urge the federal government to reinstate a network of marine sanctuaries off the coast.
Environmental organisation Save Our Marine Life said the national network of marine sanctuaries was created in 2012.
But in 2013 the federal government suspended the protective zoning of marine sanctuaries and ordered a review despite more than 10 years of scientific assessment and two years consultation.
South West business owners handed Forrest MP Nola Marino a signed a statement of concern at a meeting last week.
The statement highlighted the benefits of having marine sanctuaries in the South West and its impact on jobs and economic growth.
It stated, “The South West is world renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and extraordinary marine life.
“With more than five million visitors annually, our brand as an iconic tourist destination relies on adequate protection of our unique marine environment.”
Hairy Marron owner Paul Iles said Ms Marino conceded there would be some changes but she couldn’t let us know or didn’t have the information.
“She told us it wouldn’t be detrimental or affect the marine parks greatly,” he said.
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“As a small business owner I know without a healthy marine life businesses will suffer.”
Ms Marino said the government was determined to ensure a science-based review of Commonwealth marine reserves and zoning boundaries.
She said an independent review would be conducted by an expert scientific panel with assistance from five bioregional advisory panels.
“Panel members have been selected for their capacity to facilitate input from a broad range of stakeholders,” she said.
“We have asked the experts to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans.”
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