Marine sanctuary protections at risk: biologists

SOLITARY Islands Marine Park is one of four marine parks on the NSW coast at risk of losing sanctuary protections under a new State Government proposal.
The shoreline between Bare Bluff to Diggers Point and Moonee Beach could be rezoned up to 100m offshore to become a habitat protection zone, which means shore-based recreational line fishing would be allowed.
Stephan Soule, marine biologist and education program manager at the National Marine Science Centre, said revoking the sanctuary protections of this section of the Solitary Islands Marine Park has numerous impacts on marine research.
“These sanctuaries are specifically targeted for the rich biodiversity that they contain – and by losing that and altering it we can’t assess other habitats or see trends in the environment so we can help understand the resources as well as what might be happening in the environment,” Mr Saule said.
NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said the majority of the 7000 public submissions received in response to the NSW Government’s review of marine sanctuaries support restoring full environmental protection.
“People clearly understand that marine sanctuaries are essential for protecting marine life and the coastal lifestyles that make NSW such a great place to live.”
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