THE State Government announced on April 27 they have almost halved the number of proposed ‘sanctuary zones’ in South Autralia’s 19 planned marine parks.
In a proposal drafted after a two day meeting with conservation and fishing groups in early April, sanctuary zones will make up around 14 per cent of the State’s marine parks, reduced by 20-25 per cent from the original plan.
The Government received criticism from the fishing industry after their first proposal in 2010 showed 144 sanctuary zones.
This number has now been reduced to 84.
The Government said they delayed the scheduled release of the original draft in November so they could allow more consultation and this new draft will leave fishing grounds ‘largely unaffected’.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the marine parks proposal is important to the state but need to be supported by the communities.
“Marine parks have the potential to be a great selling point for South Australia, but to be successful they must be embraced by the whole community – so it’s great the conservation, recreational and commercial fishing sectors have come together to help make them happen,” he said.
Mr Weatherill said sector leaders considered areas of high ecological significance, research, education and ecotourism value, as well as measuring social and economic implications.
But the Opposition believe more needs to be done on the proposal.
Shadow Minister for Environment and Conservation Steven Marshall said there are still many unanswered questions for the fishing industry.
“There is still no Regional Impact Statement and no information about compensation for the commercial fishing industry,” he said.
“In fact after 10 years, there are now more questions than answers about these proposed sanctuary zones.”
Liberal Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said releasing a Regional Impact Statement and further consultation is needed before anything is finalised.
“There needs to be genuine consultation with the fishing industry, recreational fishing sector and coastal communities on Eyre Peninsula and West Coast regarding the social and economic impacts before finalising the sanctuary zones,” he said.
Minister for Environment and Conservation Paul Caica said Impact Statements are being prepared and the plan will be up for public consultation.
“Impact statements, which assess social and economic impacts of zoning are currently being prepared and will be made available when the draft management plans are released for full public consultation in coming months,” he said.
The map of the proposed marine park sanctuary zones can be seen at http://saplan.org.au/yoursay/marine-sanctuaries-your-first-look.