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Time to look to the future on Bateman’s marine sanctuaries

The Nature Coast Marine Group offer their congratulations to Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, on this climate pledge stand and now asks him to "step up and take the same inclusive approach to Batemans marine sanctuaries". In a media release issued today by the group they say "Andrew Constance has just made news with his new climate pledge, saying it was time "to stop falling into the old trap of politics" and take serious action to mitigate climate risks.

"He is also quoted as saying “the debate moved on from "left-right, green-brown" divisions and towards "great outcomes that everyone benefits from".

President Dr Jane Elek says, “It’s time to recognise that a healthy Batemans Marine Park is both an economic and environmental asset, bestowing great outcomes that benefit many users.”

“The Eurobodalla Shire Council is on the front foot with its new virtual postcard campaign to attract tourists to the region. This promotes our natural attractions, recognising that they underpin a $300 million local tourism industry.”

“The Nature Coast’s aquatic environment, coastline and estuaries support our reputation for pristine oysters, fresh seafood and locally-grown produce. These “blue and green” assets are key to our regional economy.”

"As Batemans Bay tour operator Josh Waterson says, “Running a tourism business on the water 364 days of the year, we believe sanctuaries are good for biodiversity, great for business and great for the community. "All user groups have a right to be cared for and so do the lives of all creatures below the surface. Leave the sanctuaries alone, only 19 per cent of the Batemans Marine Park is sanctuary. Perhaps a better discussion would be to increase the amount of marine sanctuary?”

According to Jane Elek “For our local member Andrew Constance, reinstating the six marine sanctuary zones that had their protected status removed last December should be a no brainer.

“More to the point, if we are fair dinkum about climate change and look to the future, what we should be talking about is safeguarding more of the marine park as no-take zones.”

Ms Elek says "As conservation science expert Professor Hugh Possingham observes, “There’s an enormous amount of data on how much of a protected area should be fully protected from fishing."

“Full protection based on internationally recognised scientific principles is crucial to stave off rapidly declining biodiversity due to overfishing, habitat loss, climate change, pollution and invasive species.

“In general the science, the models, the data suggest that 30% protection from extraction of fish is what delivers the best for nature and actually delivers the best outcome for the fisherman.”

Jane Elek says “Surely we can’t afford to lose any of the sanctuaries we have. Let’s start talking about expanding sanctuary zones to protect more habitat and build greater resilience to climate change, ocean warming, increased acidification, sea level rise and more frequent storm events.”

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