Amended Marine Parks Bill in Parliament

The amended Marine Parks Bill is to be re-presented to Parliament today.  This Bill is being lodged by Hon. Michelle Lensink MLC today for the second time. 

This Bill was not supported in the Lower House the first time and unfortunately is not likely to pass this time either.

The amendment is designed to remove the most damaging sanctuary zones under the existing legislation and change some areas into Habitat Protection Zones while leaving more than adequate Sanctuary Zones.

The 12 areas in question have been designated after considerable consultation as being the areas which are doing so much harm to the viability of the fishing community generally – in particular, the marine scale and Northern Rock Lobster sectors together with the very important recreational fishing community.

The proposed changes impact on a relatively small part of our state which is a crucial section of fish rich locations.  This situation allows the Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources to claim that the percentage of area locked away is relatively low. 

In fact the reality is that this claim does not reflect reality nor does their ridiculous assertions about a flood of tourists to see the locked away areas.The state government appears to be blissfully unaware of just how much damage is being done to regional areas because of the existing zoning arrangements. 

We are seeing fishers being squeezed into far too small an area because many of their traditional fishing grounds have been locked away, mostly at the behest of a clueless department.

The major problem is that the damage, which is glaringly obvious to anyone who knows anything much about fishing, will not become visible to the governmental sector until it is irreversible. 

Many people, who do understand this issue, are extremely concerned about the future viability of this important fishery in some regional areas of our state.

The opposition is standing firm about its intention to re-visit and amend the excessive areas designated as Sanctuary Zones and should be congratulated for doing so.  There is a desperate need for change.

Allan Suter, Ceduna mayor