The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has expressed outrage at the recent announcement by the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall that vital sanctuary zones in Batemans Marine Park, including iconic Montague Island will be scrapped.
NPA Executive Officer Gary Dunnett stated ‘Earlier this week NSW Minister for Environment, Matt Kean acknowledged the relationship between climate change, drought and fire, offering hope that the NSW Government recognises the acute challenges facing our environment. That hope was dashed today when Agriculture Minister Marshall announced that he was ditching important sanctuary zones in the Batemans Bay Marine Park.
‘Just how big a hint does the government need before they accept that the survival of our coasts, rivers and wetlands are at risk?
‘At a time when the community is demanding governments lift their game on environmental protection, Minister Marshall has taken a huge step backwards, removing protections from the breeding fish stocks that drive the productivity of our South Coast fisheries.
‘Astonishingly, the Minister’s media release acknowledges that they are stripping protections before a review of the Batemans Marine Park management plan is completed. The Marine Estate Management Act has strict requirements for public consultation, yet here we have a Minister rushing to a dreadful decision before completing the statutory review triggered by his government.
‘Sidestepping the statutory process shows that the Minister is unwilling to confront the science – these sanctuaries are essential to the health and productivity of our southern coasts.
‘While damage to our marine reserves may be hidden from view, it is willfully negligent to pretend it is not real. Decimating the sanctuary zones of marine parks is just as bad as logging in national parks. Just because we can’t see the results doesn’t make them any less real’ Mr Dunnett stated.