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Report of marine parks review welcomed

Media release: EcoNetwork-Port Stephens welcomes the recommendations of the 124-page Independent Scientific Audit Report on NSW Marine Parks released on February 16, 2012.

The most fundamental of its many recommendations include:

  • The current system of Marine Parks as established in NSW be maintained and mechanisms be found for enhancing the protection of biodiversity in identified gaps, namely within the Hawkesbury and Twofold Shelf Marine Bioregions.
  • Bringing the governance of the NSW Marine Estate (all marine and estuarine waters of NSW out to the three mile offshore boundary) under one legislative and administrative structure closely aligned with the five catchment management authorities covering the NSW coastal drainage systems.
  • The formation of an Independent Scientific Committee to oversee all research in the NSW Marine Estate with locally-based Scientific Committees to advise on local area marine parks.

“These and many other recommendations of the Report re-affirm the value of years of effort expended by conservation bodies including EcoNetwork to make the Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park a reality,” Iain Watt, marine ecologist and spokesperson for EcoNetwork-Port Stephens said. “It generates new hope for the future of our marine environments and biodiversity.

“It also sends a clear, unqualified message to the NSW Government, general public and marine park opponents that the science unequivocally supports the system of marine parks.

“This Independent Audit and Report has delivered a comprehensive framework for the future operation of marine parks in NSW. It is now incumbent on Ministers Katrina Hodgkinson, Robyn Parker and Premier Barry O’Farrell to provide the resources for implementing its recommendations.

“The report will help shape and influence the first 5-Year Review process for the Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park but the major changes to governance infrastructure will probably delay many of these processes.”

The full Report is available on-  and the main recommendations are summarised in the Executive Summary. Public submissions close on 30th June 2012 and can be made via-

Further information: Nigel Dique, secretary, EcoNetwork – Port Stephens Inc.
0423 024819; Iain Watt 0429487130