New Commonwealth Marine Parks Announced

Recfishwest welcomed the latest Commonwealth Marine Reserves Management plans, released in March 2018, which  recognises the importance of fishing in WA.

Recfishwest CEO Dr. Andrew Rowland at Parliament House, Canberra, this week.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell said these new evidence based management plans deliver a much more balanced approach than we have seen in the past and I am pleased the value of recreational fishing  has finally been acknowledged as a key value of Marine Parks.

“These plans are definitely a large improvement on the plans produced by the previous Government which locked fishers out of large areas of the ocean for no apparent reason.  The plans may not be perfect but they are the best I have seen throughout this whole process. ” Mr Campbell said.

“After years of uncertainty and long drawn-out discussions, today’s announcement is a much better outcome for fishing, a much better outcome for the community and a much better outcome for the environment.”

“These new plans maintain access to many of the iconic fishing locations around WA, including the Rottnest Trench and the South West’s Geographe Bay, both of which had previously earmarked important areas for closure. This means the descendants of West Aussies who have sustainably fished these places for generations can continue to have the same wonderful experiences. Some of the issues of most concern that we raised with the Commonwealth Government appear to have been taken on board.

“I urge everyone to support these new plans as they show a good balance between the needs of all reasonable stakeholders.”

Although these new plans appear to strike a good balance between the needs of all stakeholders the usual groups will no doubt be once again making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims about the level of protection provided by the plans even though these new plans provide the sea floor with 200,000 square kilometres more protection than the previous plans. These usual groups won’t be satisfied until all fishing is stopped or until the political party they identify with is the one to introduce management plans.

“I believe the management plans announced today are most comprehensive and sensible plans released to date and balance the needs of all reasonable stakeholders better than any of the previous plans.  We urge all sensible fishers and community members to support these plans.”

You can access the new plans here.

Recfishwest support marine parks that are created for the purpose of recreation, science, education, conservation and enhanced visitor experiences. We believe marine park zoning must be underpinned by science and should be implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

Background on Marine Parks

Developing Australia’s network of Marine Parks has been a very long and time consuming process. Recfishwest has been participating in this process from the beginning and has invested many years and submitted countless submission during this time.

In 1998 Australia committed to establishing a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (Marine Parks) and developed guideline for establishing these Parks.  In the 14 years that followed there was a procession of science which included Bioregional Profiles and plans, Regulation Impact Statements, social and economic assessments as well as scientific and expert reports.

In 2011 draft marine park proposals for the South-west, North, North-west, Coral Sea and Temperate East Marine Regions were released and in November 2012 a network of Marine Parks was proclaimed.  In many cases the proclaimed Marine Parks had very little resemblances to the 2011 proposals the public were asked to comment on.

In 2013 as part of an election commitment the Coalition government reproclaimed the Commonwealth marine reserves and set up an independent scientific review of the Marine Reserves. This review started in September 2014, undertook a significant amount of public consultation and was completed in December 2015.

Following the review, new and improved management plans were developed and these new plans were released by the Turnbull Government’s this week. You can access the new plans here.

To compare zoning and maps from the old plan to this latest plan click the links below.

North-West Commonwealth Marine Park Zoning comparison

South-West Commonwealth Marine Park Zoning comparison

Recfishwest’s Position Statement on Marine Parks