Marine filmmakers throw light on north coast sanctuaries

Byron Bay locals recently campaigning for marine sanctuary protection are featured in the documentaries.

Byron Bay locals recently campaigning for marine sanctuary protection are featured in the documentaries.

Around 500 people turned out for a special screening on Sunday night in Byron Bay of two documentaries by award-winning young filmmakers highlighting the fight to save marine sanctuaries on the north coast.

The films, My Saltwater Sanctuary, tells the story of people all over NSW who love the ocean (including in the Cape Byron marine park) and The Sea and Me, which looks at marine parks all around Australia.

Filmmakers Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood, from Bluebottle Films, who spoke about their films at the screening at the Stone & Wood Brewery, have toured around Australia’s coastline to capture inspiring stories from our extraordinary seas have  and the people who look after them.

North coast identities, including Ziggy Alberts, a Byron Bay musician and surfer, feature in the documentaries, which have played to sold-out crowds along the NSW coast over the past month as part of a road trip to raise awareness of the Baird government’s plans to rezone 10 key marine sanctuaries in mid-2015.

They also aim to raise awareness of the federal government’s review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves, and to encourage people to make a submission before the closing date on 28 March, 2015.

‘The marine park off Byron Bay has some of the most pristine and beautiful marine habitats in NSW,’ Nature Conservation Council (NCC) marine campaigner Sue Milthorpe said.

‘Tropical waters mix with cooler southern currents and this means plenty of interesting species are found in this region, like the iconic dolphins that use the area for resting and feeding,’ Ms Milthorpe said.

‘This has made the waters off Byron a major tourism drawcard for fishers and divers.

‘Marine sanctuaries were put in place to protect our extraordinary marine wildlife and their underwater homes, as well as our coastal lifestyles which relies on having healthy and abundant seas.

‘Less than four per cent of commonwealth waters and only seven per cent of state waters of NSW are safeguarded by sanctuaries.

‘Given how important marine life is to our state’s identity and economy, we really need to protect it into the future,’ she said.


Links to the trailer and vignettes from the films are:

My Saltwater Sanctuary (trailer):

Sea & Me vignettes:

  • Nigel Hayward, Port Stephens Marine Park:
  • Mark Flanders, Coffs Harbour/Solitary Islands Marine Park:
The marine sanctuary documentaries are eye openers.

The marine-sanctuary documentaries were eye openers for the audience at the Byron Bay screening on Sunday night.


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