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Batemans Marine Park Pilot Launches With Community Focus

Member for Bega Andrew Constance has welcomed the official start of the Batemans Marine Park pilot project, with the local community and environment set to benefit from the new approach to marine management.

Mr Constance said the Batemans Marine Park Advisory Committee met on 11 July to participate in a workshop to take the first step to developing the new draft management plan.

“The new approach to marine planning puts the community right at its heart. A new management plan to replace existing zoning and operational plans is being developed but we want to ensure we consider the social, cultural and economic values of our marine park, as well as its many environmental values,” Mr Constance said.

“It’s the first time we have looked at a marine park through the lens of threats and risks. In this workshop, the Committee will identify values to be conserved by the marine park and the biggest threats to those values.

“The Committee will be joined by four new members filling vacant positions representing aquaculture, recreational fishers, marine conservation and marine science. All members will play a critical role in this pilot process, providing a voice for the local interests in the initial planning stages.”

“The Committee represents the views of a range of groups from local government, marine conservation and science to Aboriginal committees, tourist and scuba groups and commercial and recreational fishers.

“We will engage with other community members and stakeholders via surveys and workshops to further inform the values, threats, draft management objectives and management actions.

“Throughout the pilot process we’ll also draw on information previously collected from the community through the Marine Estate Community Survey and State wide Threat and Risk Assessment.”

Mr Constance said existing management rules including zoning arrangements will be reviewed as part of the development of the draft management plan.

“Zoning is an important part of marine management as it helps us conserve the environment, manage conflicting uses and enhance community enjoyment of our natural resources.

“At the end of the day, we want to ensure that the zones in the marine park are closely linked to the threats and risks to the marine environment but we won’t be making any final decisions without extensive community and stakeholder feedback.

We are committed to using this pilot to prepare a management plan that has clear objectives and actions that respond to what locals consider to be the priorities for the park,” Mr Constance said.

A draft management plan will be released for public consultation for two months, where the community will have an opportunity to consider and comment on the plan.

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