Narooma Port Committee welcomes changes to Batemans Marine Pk 'no take zones'

The Narooma Port Committee has welcomed a NSW Government promise to fast-track changes to Batemans Marine Park "no-take zones".

Bega MP Andrew Constance in February said Labor and The Greens had locked fishers out of "85 per cent of the best fishing grounds on the Far South Coast".

"The NSW Government is fast-tracking consultation on a number of zones, with the intent of giving fishers greater access.

He said consultation would begin on no-take zones such as Montague Island, Brou Lake South, Wagonga Inlet and Nangudga Lake.

"It is a legislative requirement to undertake consultation and the government has determined to move this way quickly," Andrew Constance said.

"I am also keen to see what can be done on the western side of Toll Gates as well, where a lot of sandy bottom areas are locked away without any reason to do so.

"I know fishers want the marine environment protected and it must be recognised that the greatest threat to the marine environment comes from land based pollution rather than fishing.

Narooma Port Committee spokesman Philip Creagh agreed and accused Labor and The Greens of being anti-fshing.

"An extensive and thorough threat and risk assessment of NSW marine waters has identified pollution and environmental damage as far higher threats than fishing," Mr Creagh said.

"In the Batemans Marine Park actions have been taken on various fishing closures, including reversing several beach fishing closures to allow recreational fishing.

"Unfortunately the only management solutions Labor and the Greens currently can offer are more ‘no take zones’ and an anti-fishing agenda.

"The NSW Marine Estate Management Act (2014), the legislation governing marine waters to the high tide, mark stipulates that the primary purpose is to ‘to conserve biological biodiversity …’

"However it also unequivocally states that marine parks are also ‘to provide for the management and use of resources in the marine park ... consistent with ecologically sustainable development’.

"This stipulates fishing to be allowed where it is sustainable.

"Nangudga Inlet was classified amongst the bottom 20 per cent of pristine inlets on the South Coast, and was a completely illogical inlet to be classified as a no-take zone, however it was necessary to get the artificial percentage requirement up to 20 per cent no-take zone for the Park.

"It was one of the few safe, family friendly prawning sites on the south coast."

He said consultation would take at least two months.

Greens MP David Shoebridge rejected the changes.

“Rather than attacking the Marine Park and pushing for more land clearing, we need a government and a local member who stands up for our environment," he said.