The SA Government is developing a Marine & Estuarine Strategy for our state. A workshop to develop a framework for the strategy was held earlier this month. Christine Charles is the Chair of the Strategy Steering Committee. She says that our marine & estuarine environments represent an important source of economic wealth & recreational amenity to SA. They also show a very high level of species diversity and endemism. The strategy will provide a framework for addressing a range of issues pertinent to their management and provide a guide for decision making into the future. We first heard about the strategy when we sent the following letter to MP’s & Ministers:-
Re: Marine Protected Areas
SA led the way in the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) in the 1970’s. We have, however, lagged behind since then. Very few MPA’s have since been created. We applaud the creation of the Great Australian Bight marine park earlier this year and support the Federal Government proposal to extend the park. All of our other existing MPA’s are small in number and area covered. We support the Scuba Divers Federation of SA who wish to have more MPA’s created. We also support the proposals in the 1979 report “Marine Reserves in South Australia: Proposals for some Future Directions” by Ottaway et al – i.e. extend existing MPA’S, extend terrestrial reserves into the sea, create new MPA’s, etc.. Please do whatever you can to ensure that the existing MPA’s are extended and, wherever possible, new MPA’s are created.
Suggested areas for new MPA’s are as follows:-
- Glenelg Blocks
- Marino Reef
- Hallett Cove
- North of Port Stanvac
- South of Port Stanvac
- Rapid Bay to Second Valley
- Wright Island, Victor Harbor
- Wardang Island
- Innes National Park
Marine Life Society of South Australia
Both David Wotton (Environment Minister) and Rob Kerin (Primary Industries Minister) told us about the strategy in their replies to us. Wotton was pleased to hear of our support for the establishment of MPA’s in SA. He accepted that progress in the establishment of MPA’s in recent times had been slow. He said that MPA’s is one of the priority areas for the strategy. Community groups such as MLSSA are able to participate in developing the strategy. He appreciated our interest and commitment. Kerin said that the strategy will consider the entire range of issues which affect the marine & estuarine waters of the state, including the status of existing MPA’s and will make recommendations concerning any future establishment and ongoing management. He noted our comments and welcomed us to make a submission to the strategy.