Community members interested in the future of the coastline and oceans attended a workshop in Narooma on Thursday, November 30 to provide feedback regarding the draft NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy.
The NSW Marine Estate Management Authority is seeking feedback on the draft Marine Estate Management Strategy, which outlines eight initiatives to address the major threats to the state’s oceans, wetlands, coastline and coastal lakes and lagoons – our “marine estate”.
Workshop coordinator was Sarah Fairfull, the Department of Primary Industries’ aquatic environment director who is working on behalf of the Marine Estate Management Authority .
Ms Fairfull said the draft strategy was a first for NSW and would help to achieve holistic, coordinated and evidence-based management, ensuring NSW’s coastal and marine environments could be enjoyed in a sustainable way.
She said the turn-out at the Narooma workshop and the previous workshop at Kiama had been “fantastic”.
At Narooma there were representatives from user groups such as commercial and recreational fishers, conservationists, the Aboriginal land councils, as well as various government agencies such as Local Land Services, Marine Park Authority, Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Primary Industries.
The idea was to identify and prioritise threats to the marine estate, whether they be economic, social, cultural or economic and to reduce those threats, she said.
All 12 workshops around NSW had now been conducted and the deadline to make a submission was Friday, December 8.
“The feedback provided would inform the final strategy and help us to implement management initiatives and actions over the next 10 years to address the priority threats and deliver the vision for the NSW marine estate a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest well being of the community, now and into the future,” she said.
A copy of the draft Strategy and supporting information, or to make a submission online visit the marine estate website www.marine.nsw.gov.au
The NSW Greens however remain skeptical and believe the NSW Government’s new draft 10-year marine strategy lacks the ambition and action needed to protect the local ocean, coastline and marine life.
Justin Field, Greens spokesperson on marine protection and the South Coast, said he’d been disappointed by the lack of detail in the strategy including no funding, and how it largely ignored the risks of climate change to the marine environment and the community’s enjoyment of it.
“The next decade will be critical for determining whether we can turn things around and deliver a healthy future for our local ocean, coastline, marine life and the communities who rely on them,” he said.
“But the NSW Liberal/National Government is burying its head in the sand, happy to ignore or delay action on some of the key challenges to our marine environment and coastal communities.
“The Government must explain why climate change has been significantly downgraded as a threat to the marine environment since the draft strategy was released.
“The reality is that climate change remains the biggest threat to healthy oceans and our enjoyment of the coastline but once again a Liberal/National Government is playing politics with climate policy and marine protected areas.
Philip Creagh of the Narooma Port Committee was at the Marine Estate Management Strategy workshop on Thursday and it was a sizable working document that needed to be thoroughly looked at to be understood.
“The workshop certainly crystallised, in my mind, the thinking behind the various NSW Government Departments and how they are approaching the Marine Estate,” Mr Creagh said.
“There appears to be a genuine attempt to make the whole of the NSW coast a more sustainable place and key threats to the Marine Estate have been identified.
“The stand out threat is water pollution in all its forms. There appear to be steps that will be taken to reduce these threats and doubtless this will benefit the whole of the marine environment.
“As is expected this does not appeal to the Greens, The Greens spokesman for the Marine environment, Mr. Field MLC, believe this will only be accomplished by bigger and bigger lockout zones – this is yesterday’s thinking Mr Field.
“Hopefully when this draft is finalised the Government will have the political will to pass the appropriate legislation, despite the bleating from the Greens.”
But Mr Field said communities such as Kiama and Narooma love their marine environment and support doing more to maintain healthy oceans and estuaries.
“Most fishers and other water users support protected areas, including the Batemans Marine Park, and want to see the issues of pollution, overfishing and habitat loss through inappropriate development dealt with.
“The best way to build the resilience of our marine environment to deal with climate change impacts is to have a robust network of fully protected marine sanctuaries. A healthy economy and healthy fisheries rely on a healthy marine environment,” Mr Field said.
Submissions on the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy are open until December 8, 2017.
Strategy documents available here: https://www.marine.nsw.gov.au/key-initiatives/marine-estate-management-strategy
The Greens have created an online submission tool to enable people to quickly comment on this critical issue facing the marine environment: