The plan to increase no-take ‘sanctuary’ zones has been ditched, after lobbying by fishing groups. Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has announced that “fishing lock outs (are) off the table”. The public consultation process, which still has almost two weeks to run, has been marred by confusion and unfounded concerns that fishers would be 'locked out' of all their favourite spots. In fact, only 2.5% of the coastline would have had fishing completely banned, and many popular fishing spots were specifically excluded from proposed sanctuary zones. Marine activists and environmentalists have criticised the back-down and vowed to continue the fight for a Sydney Marine Park.
7/9/18 The state government plans to increase marine parks in Sydney Harbour and up and down the coast. In Manly, both Cabbage Tree Bay and North Sydney Aquatic Reserve would increase significantly in size.
While many people are delighted, fishermen are worried that some fishing spots will become off limits.
Under the proposal Cabbage Tree Bay would increase in size from 18 to 52 hectares. The protected area would be extended around North Head almost as far as Blue Fish Point, and go further out to sea. Blue Fish Point itself would be designated a 7ha Special Purpose Zone, where recreational fishing, and some activities would be allowed. And in a big win for environmentalists, boats would be banned from anchoring in seagrass regions in Cabbage Tree Bay, with courtesy moorings or a designated anchoring area to be considered instead.
The images below show existing reserve on the left; new enlarged reserve on the right. Pink is a Sanctuary no-take zone, blue is Special Purpose - some fishing allowed.
Our other marine park is North Harbour Aquatic Reserve - a section of Sydney Harbour between Dobroyd Head and North Head from Quarantine Beach to Collins Beach. The new proposal would increase this area northwards all the way to the coastline, meaning Manly Cove, Spring Cove, Fairlight and all of North Harbour will be completely included. See images. As well, the new area will have two new sanctuary (no take) zones; one at Fairlight beach and the other in Spring Cove. However, recreational fishing will still be allowed in a small area around Little Manly Point.
The images below show existing reserve on the left; new enlarged reserve on the right. Pink is a Sanctuary no-take zone, blue is Special Purpose - some fishing allowed, yellow is little penguin habitat.
Many people in the Manly community have worked hard for this for years, including Sharnie Connell from the Marine Conservation Society, the Surfrider Foundation, and Manly Environment Centre. Our local MP James Griffin has also pledged his support.
All up the proposed new park would deliver 25 new marine sites in the Hawksbury Shelf Bioregion between Newcastle to Wollongong, including sites at Dee Why headland, Long Reef, Narrabeen Head, Mona Vale, Bungan and Barrenjoey headlands and Lion Island, as well as Chowder Bay, Camp Cove and Nielsen Park. Despite this, 95% of the region remains available for fishing.
More details here for Cabbage Tree Bay and North Harbour Reserve.
The government is conducting a public consultation process, before making its final decision. Have your say by Thursday Sept 27 at https://www.marine.nsw.gov.au/key-initiatives/hawkesbury-shelf-marine-assessment
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.