MEMBER for Bega Andrew Constance yesterday announced changes to the Batemans Marine Park that he says will directly benefit Far South Coast communities.
The Batemans Marine Park extends from north of Batemans Bay down past Narooma to Wallaga Lake taking in Montague Island. About 20 per cent of park is currently sanctuary zone.
"Effective immediately the O'Farrell Government will allow line fishing from ocean beaches and headlands in sanctuary zones within the Batemans Marine Park,” Mr Constance said.
"This is great news for our community that has been harshly penalised by the deal struck between Labor and Greens when the marine park was created.
"There is not one ounce of science that identifies environmental damage caused by line fishing off a beach or the rocks and I know this announcement will be well received by local businesses, particularly the bait and tackle shops.
"The Government will protect sites if identified for the need to do so on the basis of threatened species. In our region Burrewarra Point, south of Batemans Bay is the only headland that has been identified in this regard.”
Burrewarra Point is a known grey nurse shark aggregation site.
The state government is also establishing two new advisory bodies, the Marine Estate Management Authority and the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel, and these will replace the Marine Park Authority.
"I can also confirm that the O'Farrell cabinet has decided that the zones within the Batemans Marine Park will be the first to be assessed by the newly formed panel with a focus on Yellow Rock/Tollgate and Montague zonings,” Mr Constance said.
"The minister hopes to finalise this review fairly quickly.
"The new panel that is being formed will provide advice to government across ecology, economics, social sciences and coastal land use planning.
"I also want to particularly acknowledge the work of Minister Hodgkinson and Minister Parker in moving this matter forward.”
The Narooma News will report on reaction to the changes next week…