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www.ffc.org.au
Fishers For Conservation Comment regarding the 19 SA Marine Parks Draft Management Plans. - the need for recreation zones.
Fishers For Conservation Inc.
Email: fisherfc@internode.on.net
21/10/2012

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Introduction

Fishers For Conservation Inc. (FFC) is an Australian based non-profit incorporated association educating, supporting and representing recreational fishers. FFC counts as members people from all walks of life including commercial fishers, divers, tourism operators, aquatic scientists, NRM workers and plenty of average anglers with jobs like nurses and teachers. All members are united by the goal of protecting the aquatic environment to ensure future generations can enjoy recreational fishing and other aquatic pursuits as we have in the past and do today. We support conservation and ecologically based management of the coastal, marine and freshwater environments. FFC is about fishing and respecting the environment we love.
FFC supports in principle the establishment of Marine Parks (including sanctuary zones) in South Australia and will be takes an active role in commenting on park boundaries and zoning when appropriate.
We make the following comments regarding the Draft Marine Parks Management Plans for 19 Marine Parks as part of the public consultation period October 2012 :


Key points

 

Sanctuary zones are the high protection centrepieces of the proposed marine parks network. Fishers For Conservation supports the implementation of sanctuary zones as part of the current proposal.


FFC notes that "Recent research now provides strong evidence for the fisheries benefits from MPAs [sanctuary zones]. This includes evidence for enhanced larval transport out of reserves, spill-over of adults from reserves, and increased catches adjacent to reserves." We commend the Government on introducing sanctuary zones and support these from a fishing for the future perspective.


Uses of the marine environment that could potentially impact negatively on sanctuary zone protection from outside sanctuary zone boundaries include:

  • animal feeding/baiting/berlying,
  • some forms of aquaculture,
  • wastewater disposal/discharge and outfall,
  • localised overfishing of specific species associated with over intensive fishing methods including longlining and trap fisheries,
  • dredge spoil,
  • active seismic survey,
  • oil/gas, seabed mining and pipelines.

In the current proposal habitat protection zones (HPZ) are the default 'buffer zones' for sanctuary zones. For reasons including those listed above current HPZ zoning proposals potentially fall short of the required level of protection for effective buffering of sanctuary zones.
Recreation zones are Fishers For Conservation's recommended solution to the problem of buffering sanctuary zones. Recreation zones are also recommended as a solution for zoning in high recreational use areas that nonetheless deserve higher levels of protection.
Potential solutions to the problem of introducing recreation zones under the current legislation include:

  • Introduce two types of zoning within the HPZ category - HPZ A zones that are recreation zones as described above, and HPZ B zones which would be managed as per the current HPZ management arrangements.
  • Change the regulation of all currently proposed HPZ zoning to become recreation zone as outlined above.
  • Change the legislation to include recreation zones (as recommended by FFC in our Fishers For Conservation Submission regarding the SA Draft Marine Parks Bill 27/11/06).

 

Detailed comment

Sanctuary zones

Sanctuary zones are the high protection centrepieces of the proposed marine parks network. Fishers For Conservation supports the implementation of sanctuary zones as part of the current proposal. High protection sanctuary zones are proven to assist with biodiversity protection, adaptation to climate change, fisheries stability, fostering ecosystem resilience and increasing the stocks of overfished or otherwise impacted species.
FFC notes that "Recent research now provides strong evidence for the fisheries benefits from MPAs [sanctuary zones]. This includes evidence for enhanced larval transport out of reserves, spill-over of adults from reserves, and increased catches adjacent to reserves." We commend the Government on introducing sanctuary zones and support these from a fishing for the future perspective.
We note that covering 26,655 km, South Australia’s network of 19 marine parks (proclaimed in 2009) includes 44% of South Australia’s waters. A more appropriate approach would have been to zone all State waters as multiple use marine park and proceed with management and zoning from that point.
We support the statement of the Australian Marine Sciences Association regarding marine protected areas which states: : "Where detailed planning has not been undertaken, the minimum requirement to fulfil Australia's international agreements of effective conservation is to protect all major marine  ecosystems, with a target of  at least 10% of all habitat types under full  ‘no-take’protection... AMSA  considers  that a figure of 10% under  ‘no-take’ protection would slow but not prevent loss of biodiversity. The current ‘no-take’level in the GBRMP of 33% is more likely to achieve substantial and sustained biodiversity conservation benefits.. Rare and vulnerable ecosystems, communities  or populations  should be provided with greater than 10%  protection. When these  species, ecosystem, or habitat types are critically endangered, AMSA recommends100% protection within ‘no-take’ MPAs."
The current proposal would bring the percentage of Sate Waters within high protection zoning (sanctuary zone or equivalent) to around 6%, falling short of the guideline targets set by the scientific community and international agreements. There is a need to review and improve the level of protection in keeping with current and future scientific data and recommendations.
Breeding and nursery habitat for, example mangrove habitat is underrepresented in the current proposal.
Fishers For Conservation does not recommend 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' and supports many aspects of the current sanctuary zone proposals, while pointing out that there is room for improvement, including increasing the area of protection for specific habitat types and location, during current and future reviews.

 

Buffering sanctuary zones

As outlined above Fishers For Conservation acknowledges the important role that sanctuary zones have as the central pieces in the multiple-use zoning jigsaw puzzle of SA's marine parks network.
Crucial to the effectiveness of the high-protection sanctuary zones is ensuring that they are protected from negative impacts originating from outside of the sanctuary zones themselves. Sanctuary zones need to be 'buffered' from external impacts, particularly when these zones are small or located in areas where there are nearby uses of the marine environment that are potentially in conflict with the goal of "being a zone primarily established so that an area may be managed to provide protection and conservation for habitats and biodiversity within a marine park.."
Uses of the marine environment that could potentially impact negatively on sanctuary zone protection from without sanctuary zone boundaries include:

  • animal feeding/baiting/berlying,
  • some forms of aquaculture,
  • wastewater disposal/discharge and outfall,
  • localised overfishing of specific species associated with over intensive fishing methods including longlining and trap fisheries,
  • dredge spoil,
  • active seismic survey,
  • oil/gas, seabed mining and pipelines.

In the current proposal Habitat Protection zones are the default 'buffer zones' for sanctuary zones. For reasons including those listed above current HPZ zoning proposals potentially fall short of the required level of protection for effective buffering of sanctuary zones.

The need for recreation zones

The current legislation allows for only 5 zonings - general use, habitat protection, sanctuary, restricted access and special purpose. This allows no provision for recreation zones allowing recreational pursuits without inappropriate activities and commercial exploitation including animal feeding/baiting/berlying, some forms of aquaculture, wastewater disposal/discharge and outfall, localised overfishing of specific species associated with over intensive fishing methods including longlining and trap fisheries, dredge spoil, active seismic survey, oil/gas, seabed mining and pipelines.
Recreation zones are Fishers For Conservation's recommended solution to the problem of buffering sanctuary zones. Recreation zones are also recommended as a solution for zoning in high recreational use areas that nonetheless deserve higher levels of protection
Potential solutions to the problem of introducing recreation zones under the current legislation include:

  • Introduce two types of zoning within the HPZ category - HPZ A zones that are recreation zones as described above, and HPZ B zones which would be managed as per the current HPZ management arrangements.
  • Change the regulation of all currently proposed HPZ zoning to become recreation zone as outlined above.
  • Change the legislation to include recreation zones (as recommended by FFC in our Fishers For Conservation Submission regarding the SA Draft Marine Parks Bill 27/11/06).

Recreation zones should be an option for marine park planners to provide increased conservation outcomes without excessively restricting access to the public for recreational purposes (including recreational fishing). Elsewhere such as in NSW Recreational Fishing Havens (RFH’s) excluding commercial fishing have proven popular, economically valuable and have delivered biodiversity conservation outcomes. SA’s Marine Parks need provision for similar commercial activity free areas. For more details on the need for recreation zones in Marine Park planning read the Appendix below.

Appendix – comments regarding the need for recreation zones.

Fishers For Conservation has concerns that an opportunity for the general community, and in particular recreational fishers, to take stewardship of our marine parks could be being overlooked.
Importantly there is no provision in current proposals for recreation zones that allow only non commercial activities. Such recreation zones would have many benefits including:

  • Recreation Zones would be the ideal way to buffer Sanctuary (no extractive use) zones from commercial impacts - current proposed zoning allows long line boats to spend all day circling sanctuary zones that are likely to be too small to allow for protection of many fish species.
  • Recreation Zones would benefit local and state tourism and recreation related economy, the area lost to commercial fishing can be compensated for using the detailed displaced effort compensation plan that DEH have already released. Where is the plan/document outlining how MPA's will address displaced recreational effort?
  • Recreation Zones will have considerable conservation value, by removing commercial impacts from areas they will become the second most protected large zones within our marine parks and significantly increase the conservation value of Marine Parks. In NSW after the introduction of RFH's (Recreational Fishing Havens), where commercial effort has been removed by a rec fishing licence funded commercial licence buyback, fishers are reporting vastly improved catches and observing increased species diversity.
  • The addition of Recreation Zones to the current zonings allowed for in the Marine Parks Act is the incentive that recreational fishers need to take intellectual ownership of our marine parks. Zones for recreational pursuits only will be the reward and the compensation for displaced effort required to bring all of the recreational fishing community behind the much needed marine conservation initiative that MPA's are.
  • Recreation Zones are not just for rec fishers, these zones will be areas where all who love our marine environment can enjoy recreational pursuits without direct impacts from commercial operations.
  • Recreation Zones will provide opportunities for research into the impact of recreational fishing and will allow for areas with fishing regulations that may vary from the general rules such as catch and release only areas, seasonal spatial general or species fishing closures, reduced bag limits or tackle restrictions. In short Recreation Zones will be designed to maximise the economic and social benefits of recreational fishing while minimising the impact on Marine Park areas.

Recreation Zones will be appropriate to buffer sanctuary zones and for areas adjacent to population creatures or with a long history of recreational use.
Upgrading some of the area that would be zoned 'habitat protection' under the current management plans would provide tangible conservation value for our Marine Parks and real economic and social benefits to the community.
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