In the light of recent bushfires, flooding rains and polluting run-off which are seriously affecting marine life in Batemans Marine Park, especially estuaries, we need marine sanctuaries more than ever. We urge you to rescind the amnesty on fishing in sanctuary zones in Wagonga Inlet, Nangudga Lake, Whittakers Creek at Brou Lake, and Montague Island
The words above were those on Nature Coast Marine Group’s petition which was at the Group’s stall at Broulee’s Art on the Path on Sunday morning 8th March.
“The petition was wholeheartedly supported by the 220 people who signed and they were the majority of those attending the event,” said Jenny Edwards, one of the Group’s volunteers. “The market was attended by many locals and almost a third of the people who signed were visitors to the area – vital to our struggling local economy.”
“We explained what was meant by the amnesty declared on recreational fishing in several marine sanctuary zones in the southern part of Batemans marine Park. People we spoke to were disgusted by the amnesty and the lack of public consultation. They were also horrified by the impacts the bushfires, downpours and pollution were having on the region’s estuaries, ICOLLs and coast. Just as the wildlife on land has suffered this summer, so has the region’s marine life. “
“Many asked why the sanctuaries were being undermined when there was so much of the Marine Park available for fishers,” Mrs Edwards said. “The level of concern we find in our local area is consistent with broad public support in New South Wales for effective marine conservation, as has been demonstrated in the government’s own opinion surveys.”
Photo by Jen Thompson