Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment

Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregionAs many of you are aware there is a huge push to create another marine park from Newcastle to Wollongong. We are working as hard as we can to minimise the impacts to  spear fishers as much as possible. We set to lose out big time here especially as shallow reefs and headlands <25m include 95% of the areas that we dive.

 The Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) is running this assessment. We have had representatives attend all the workshops so far as well as attending other meetings with Niall Blair the minister for DPI. 
We were planning on releasing a set of guidelines to help people fill out the submission however we have been advised to wait until after an important meeting on the 6th of April. This will be the final workshop and is being put on for rec fishers and spear fishers after we made a request to the minister. If anyone would like to go please contact me. It is to be held at the Sydney fish markets between 1:30pm and 5:pm I will be going as well as guys from the RFA. Submissions close on Sunday the 24th of April.
On another note I have been officially appointed as the Spearfishing Representative to the new Recreational Fishing Advisory Council which has replaced ACORF. So if you have any important matters that need to be brought up please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Matthew Poulton
Spearfishing Representative
Recreational Fishing Advisory Council


USFA Spearfishing Historian Mel Brown also shared us a few concerns:

One point the documents fail to take into account are changed recreational fishing regulations and practices.

Over a period there have been far reaching changes made to the Fisheries Management Act and Regulations concerning recreational saltwater fishing. These regulations make extensive provisions for such matters as catch limits, gear restrictions, minimum legal lengths, protected species and closed or restricted areas. Recreational Fishing is now regulated to an unprecedented degree, but the bioregion documents fail to acknowledge this.

Also I get the impression that since the huge outcry over sewage pollution that led to the establishment of Sydney’s Ocean Outfalls, Sydney Water has dropped the ball with many serious pollution issues, particularly chemical pollution and its unseen effect on our microscopic marine life, on plankton and larvae, not only fish but everything else that is hugely dependent on clean, chemical and pollution free water.

As a small example, most hair shampoos are little more than a toxic cocktail. Many contain sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)as well as parabens, ethoxylates, propylene glycol, petrochemical cleansers, phalates, mineral oils, DEA and silicones and synthetic fragrances. These chemicals all find their way into our sewage and ultimately our waterways, estuaries and oceans without any studies into the effects on our very vital microscopic and minute sea life.

Taken from the hawkesbury-shelf-discussion-paper.pdf

A better picture showing the expanse of the region under assessment
A better picture showing the expanse of the region under assessment
The 15 sites that are priority for the assessment
The 15 sites that are priority for the assessment

Please note that the consultation period has been extended until Sunday 8th May 2016. Please make sure you have your say and make a submission here: http://www.marine.nsw.gov.au/key-initiatives/hawkesbury-shelf-marine-assessment

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