Marine campaign update Spring 2023

Danielle Ryan, NPA NSW Conservation Campaigner

A new policy era for marine — growing appetite for marine advocacy  

NPA NSW is keen to seize on the incumbent government’s objectives to deliver the 30×30 target and growing community aspirations for the creation of more marine sanctuaries. This campaign update details the rise of Ocean Legend and filmmaker Valerie Taylor’s String of Pearls campaign and the newly created Friends of Bongin Bongin, a collective of swimmer groups who formed earlier in the year to create a proposal for a marine sanctuary in Mona Vale, after witnessing a decline in fish in the area.  

Parsley Bay – an eastern suburbs gem under threat

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Nicole McMahon, NPA member

In this article I would like to acknowledge The Traditional owners being the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people.

For the past 5 years, I have enjoyed learning and making lifelong friendships with fantastic people as a Bushcare volunteer for Woollahra Council at Parsley Bay and a Sydney-based NPA member.

Parsley Bay is one of my favourite places, and a treasured spot in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. A place of many celebrations, gatherings, picnics, and beach activity, where children play and laugh and have many great adventures. It is a much-loved area by the whole community.

The Challenge of 30 by 30

Ross McDonnell, Convenor, NPA Landscape Conservation Forum

The NPA’s Landscape Conservation Forum (LCF) recognises the challenge ahead for NSW if it is to make an equitable contribution to the evolving Commonwealth Government policy of achieving ’30 by 30’. Articles in this Journal by WWF’s Dr Stuart Blanch and NPA’s Dr Ross Jeffree focus on the National Reserve System and the supporting economic context, but a considerable challenge exists on how NSW develops and implements a suitable response.

Broadly speaking, it will come down to what types of protection and management measures will be counted as contributing to a 30% target, and will there be a coordinated NSW approach?

For NPA a consideration is how does it focus its advocacy role in support of ’30 by 30’. The LCF, in considering this, has focused on promoting a broadening of the IUCN’s protected area classifications to include areas (land and waters) where the rehabilitation and restoration of natural values is required. The ’30 by 30’ target can also be legitimately met if it includes appropriately managed Crown Lands such as travelling stock routes, road reserves or verges with known natural values, and Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). In addition, a significant contribution would occur if NSW followed Victoria and Western Australia and ceased forestry in native forests and those areas were transferred to NPWS management.

NSW Marine Parks Forum – my ocean journey as an NPA member

Nicole McMahon, NPA Member

It is an overwhelming experience when you begin your journey into becoming environmentally conscious. You discover the human impact on our environment is a polarising topic. So, for those wanting to make simple steps in the right direction, it can be difficult to gauge where to begin. I believe public forums, such as the NSW Marine Parks Forum, are a great place to start.

On July 1, I had the privilege of attending the NSW Marine Parks Forum, University of Technology Sydney, co-hosted by NPA NSW. The co-hosts included UTS’s School of Life Sciences, The Australian Marine Conservation Society, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Ocean Youth, WWF-Australia and The Wilderness Society.

I heard from some incredible speakers making waves (pun intended) on our environment from Byron to Batemans Bay, as well as learning the shocking ways in which our Marine Parks are being impacted by higher officials neglecting, what is to many Australians, our backyard. I also learned that highly protected marine sanctuaries can thrive when they are supported by strong, connected communities like in Manly. 

Claimed goal of protecting 30% of Australia’s ocean has not been met

National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) fully supports a letter by a group of 23 prominent marine scientists who are concerned that the government is using ‘paper parks’, or partially protected areas, to claim they have reached the goal of 30% marine protection. 

NSW Marine Protected Areas: Our Underwater National Parks

Sharnie Connell, Senior Campaigns Officer, National Parks Association of NSW

Many people are unaware that marine protected areas exist, or how they work. As the saying goes out of sight, out of mind. The value of national parks on land seems obvious, we currently have around 9% conservation area in terrestrial NSW but only 6% sanctuary in our NSW state waters.