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April 17, 2024

Cape Byron Marine Park plan on exhibition

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The rocky cliffs of Cape Byron. Cape Byron Marine Park extends approximately 37km along the coastline from the Brunswick River north wall to Lennox Head. (File photo)

Cape Byron Marine Park is one of five mainland NSW marine parks that will be considered by the NSW government under a ‘draft network management plan’, which is now on exhibition.

Established in 2002, Cape Byron Marine Park extends approximately 37km along the coastline from the Brunswick River north wall to Lennox Head. According to DPI NSW, the ‘marine park conserves many subtropical marine habitats, which support high levels of biodiversity, including some threatened and protected species. It is strongly influenced by the East Australian Current (EAC) as warm waters from the north come together with cooler waters from the south’.

Aerial view of Julian Rocks. Photo Tripadvisor

According to The Draft NSW mainland marine park network management plan 2021-2031, the plan, ‘seeks to deliver win-win environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes by managing priority threats to marine park values. It considers all key threats to marine park values whether they originate in the marine park or in adjacent catchments’.

On page 53 of the document: ‘Additional Local Actions’, for Cape Byron Marine Park, it states, ‘Support implementation of the Domestic Waterfront Structures Strategy for the Brunswick River’. And on page 60, another local action is to, ‘Identify and remediate sources of sewage contamination in the Brunswick River to improve water quality and support safe harvest of seafood’.

Another local action (page 72) is to ‘Explore opportunities to enhance access for artificial bait and fly fishing at the Mackerel Boulder’.

The authors say, ‘Existing management rules prevent recreational fishing at the Mackerel Boulder for eight months of each year to protect threatened species and marine wildlife interactions’.

Independent NSW MLC Justin Field says the plan is ‘now years overdue’, and is calling for a commitment ‘to maintaining and strengthening marine sanctuary protections’.

He says since the Liberals and Nationals came to Government in 2011, ‘They have cut protections to the marine environment in NSW, and this new draft plan offers little to think that trend will be reversed’.

‘Today, just six per cent of NSW coastal waters are fully protected in marine sanctuaries.

‘The community understands that just like on land in our National Parks, it makes sense to put aside areas in the ocean for protection. Six per cent is simply not enough to protect the marine environment from the increasing threats it is facing’.

The draft management plan is available via www.yoursay.marine.nsw.gov.au.

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