NSW's famed coastline could soon be home to an expansive new marine park, in a proposal announced yesterday by the State Government. In an effort to protect and preserve the region's natural environment and biodiversity, 25 sites between Newcastle and Wollongong would become part of the proposed conservation park — with the whole thing split into three different zones.
In the Sanctuary Zones, designed to boost biodiversity, you'd be able to enjoy activities that don't harm any animal, plant or habitat — including boating, snorkelling, surfing and diving — while the Conservation Zones would restrict fishing — and other marine life extraction — to only lobster and abalone diving.
There'd also be Special Purpose Zones, put in place to address a specific threat, or reserved for a certain activity, such as special marine park facilities, or Aboriginal sites. A map of the proposed park shows large Conservation Zones near the Bronte-Coogee area and at Forresters near Gosford, while Special Purpose Zones are planned for spots like Sydney Harbour, Long Reef and Wollongong's Five Islands.
While the government hasn't given too many details about how it will protect the sites from threats such as litter and pollution, it says it is hoping to find a balance between keeping the coastline beautiful, seeing its marine life thrive, and allowing residents to continue enjoying it all.
The proposed marine park covers only a portion of NSW's expansive coastline — which 1750 kilometres and encompasses 826 beaches and 185 estuaries — it's a start. The NSW Government has also announced plans to drop $45.7 million on the first part of its 10-year Marine Estate Management Strategy, seeking solutions for some of the biggest threats facing the state's marine environment, including litter and pollution.
Over the next six weeks, locals can have their say on the proposed marine park, as part of an extensive community consultation. Head here to share your thoughts.