The National Parks Association of NSW CEO, Kevin Evans, has today welcomed the announcement by the NSW Leader of the Opposition the Hon. John Robertson MP and the Hon. Luke Foley MP, Opposition Environment Spokesperson to create a significant new marine park for Sydney, if the NSW Labor Party is elected on March 26th 2015.
"This decision will be well received in the NSW community, as surveys show strong support for marine parks and sanctuaries; 93% of the general public, including 91% of people who fish, support marine sanctuary zones" Mr Evans stated.
"This is a strategic decision by the Labor Party as Sydney is part of the only bioregion in NSW that does not have a Marine Park. This was highlighted in the Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in NSW which recommended "mechanisms be found for enhancing the protection of biodiversity in the ... Hawkesbury Shelf Bioregion" said Mr Evans.
"The two most-recent surveys of recreational fishing in Sydney Harbour have shown dramatically-declining fish stocks in nine of the ten top targeted species, despite cessation of commercial fishing in the interim".
"Contrary to misinformation in the media, Marine Parks work. Marine Park sanctuary zones result in double the abundance, and five times the biomass of large fish. This is good for everyone, resulting in better recreation experiences, increased tourism, cleaner water and a positive legacy for future generations".
"NPA hopes that this is a sign that a future Labour Government is placing the environment front and centre in its election campaign. NPA looks forward to seeing the other major Parties announce strong environmental policies to put behind us an era of environmental vandalism to be replaced by a bipartisan commitment to protect the one environment we all share. The community expects nothing less of our elected leaders".
"NPA now calls on the Baird State Government and the Greens to declare their intention to declare a marine park for Sydney and reinstate and expand sanctuary zone protection in existing marine parks, so our marine environment has a healthy future" Mr Evans concluded.
For more information about NPA's Sydney Marine Park Campaign www.sydneymarinepark.org.au