Throwing a line in the water and trying to catch a fish will no longer be possible in some parts of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s waters, with the implementation of 11 sanctuary (no fishing) zones coming into effect on Wednesday, October 1.
The state government established a network of 19 marine parks in 2009 in a bid to protect marine habitat, biodiversity, ecological processes and the sustainability of various marine activities and one of the marine parks is the Encounter Marine Park.
The Encounter Marine Park includes Port Noarlunga, Aldinga, Rapid Bay, Cape Jervis, Victor Harbor, Port Elliot, Bashams Beach, Antechamber Bay, Penneshaw, American River and Kingscote.
The Encounter Marine Park has 11 no fishing zones.
The no fishing zones are Noarlunga Reef, Onkaparinga wetland, Aldinga Reef, Carrickalinga, Rapid Head, three off Kangaroo Island, Pages, Port Elliot and Coorong Beach.
In a bid to minimise the impact of no fishing zones in seaside communities the state Liberal Party had amendments passed in the Upper House that would limit the size of no fishing zones and remove 12 from the state’s waters.
However, for it to become law it had to be passed by the Lower House and needed the support of independent government ministers Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith.
On September 18, in a vote in the House of Assembly, the amendments failed due to Mr Brock’s lack of support. Mr Hamilton-Smith supported the amendments.
Shadow Environment Minister Michelle Lensink said the Liberal Party was calling on Mr Brock and Mr Hamilton-Smith to vote with the Liberals in protecting regional jobs and local economies.
“Labor Government’s marine park boundaries have been widely condemned by the fishing industry, recreational fishers and regional communities,” Ms Lensink said.
“The state Liberals support marine parks, but not the current zones proposed by the Labor Government.
“Marine parks must be well designed to be effective and this includes undertaking proper environmental mapping and baseline studies.
“However, this did not take place in SA.”
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Ian Hunter, said parliament’s decision to reject the Marine Parks Amendment Bill was a victory for the state’s unique marine environment and for the economic future of regional communities.
“Today marks a watershed moment for the protection, sustainability and future viability of South Australia’s marine environment,” Mr Hunter said.
“The introduction of marine park areas in South Australia is the result of 10 years of planning, involving extensive consultation with local communities, industry and other stakeholders.”
Mr Hunter thanked Mr Brock for his decision to vote against the proposed amendments, and in the process secured commitments from the government to complete comprehensive Regional Impact Assessment Statements and commence a review of the marine park management plans.
Mr Brock, the Regional Development Minister, said he had secured agreement that the three comprehensive Regional Impact Assessment Statements would be completed within 12 months.
“It’s critical that we strike the right balance between any economic impact on local businesses in those regions and the need to protect our marine environment,” Mr Brock said.
According to the state government, no fishing zones take up six per cent of state waters.