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Face-to-face with Marine Parks panel

EcoNetwork President Dr Bruce Pease reports that he attended a workshop associated with the Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in NSW at Parliament House in Sydney on 1 December.

The workshop sought the response of conservation groups to the submissions and documentation compiled by the Audit with respect to the management of marine parks in New South Wales.

Assoc. Prof. Bob Beeton (Chair), Prof. Colin Buxton, Prof. Peter Fairweather, Assoc. Prof. Emma Johnston, Dr. Roberta Ryan, Mr. Greg Cutbush and secretariat staff, were part of the audit panel.

Facing the panel with Dr Pease were representatives of the main conservation groups that made submissions to the Audit. These included Pepe Clarke (CEO) and Paula Brown (Marine Campaigner), Nature Conservation Council of NSW; Kevin Evans (CEO), National Parks Association of NSW; Keith Muir (Executive Director), Colong Foundation for Wilderness; and Marny Bonner (President) and Gordon Fraser-Quick (Campaigner), Australian Seabird Rescue.

“The Panel asked a wide range of questions regarding our views on the management of Marine Parks in NSW, including key threats to biodiversity, the adequacy and effectiveness of current management processes for protecting marine and estuarine biodiversity, governance issues and our suggestions for improvement,” reports Dr Pease.

“Our views were in general agreement and I felt that our contributions were respected and taken on board.

“The proceedings were recorded and a transcript will be circulated to attendees. Some interesting threads emerged and I would be happy to discuss the issues with anyone who is interested.”

For an excellent summary of available literature on the environmental benefits of Marine Protected Areas, Dr Pease recommends a reading of joint Submission 181 by Pepe Clarke, Darren Kindleysides and Kevin Evans on behalf of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the National Parks Association of NSW, at