The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) has expressed outrage at the recent announcement by the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall that vital sanctuary zones in Batemans Marine Park, including iconic Montague Island will be scrapped.
Hayley Egan, Barefeet
There are many misconceptions surrounding cultural access to aquatic resources both in NSW and throughout Australia. Many people assume that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have unlimited access or no rules when it comes to harvesting resources. In NSW this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no single set of guidelines, legislation or regulations to govern cultural access. Native Title over water in NSW has for the first time been formally acknowledged in determinations in 2019. The details of the access rights to those claimants are slowly filtering through. Currently in NSW waters Aboriginal Cultural Fishing is acknowledged as a fishery along with Commercial and Recreational Fisheries. Though unlike the other two there are no regulations to govern access rights for the sector. Since 2010 there have been Interim Access Arrangements, which have evolved slightly over the last nine years. However, these are not legally binding like regulations, and as a result there are a lot of grey areas in their interpretation. This has led to the community mistrusting the Department and being in the dark about their rights within the fishery.
Adele Pedder, Australian Society for Marine Conservation
The world’s oceans are facing increasing challenges with climate change, pollution and overfishing. In light of these challenges it is becoming increasingly important to set aside large areas of our ocean to restore some balance beneath the waves and allow marine ecosystems to function in their natural state. Globally more and more nations are relying on marine parks to give their parts of our blue planet a fighting chance.
Australia will trump even Donald Trump and become the first nation to cut protections of its ocean estate if it implements plans, released today, to expose vulnerable areas of the marine environment to industrial fishing exploitation, a national alliance of environment groups said.