We applaud the South Australian Government's proposal to create Marine Parks over 46% of the State’s marine waters. However the initial definition of these parks and their outer boundaries offers no protection, and it is the next stage of this process, where the location of zones within these parks, and the activities allowed within these zones will be decided, that will ultimately dictate whether the these parks will “protect and conserve biological diversity and marine habitats” (excerpt from Primary Objectives Marine Parks Act 2007).
We note the policy commitments made to the Aquaculture Industry, the Resources Industry and the Commercial Fishing Industry. We suggest that a similar policy commitment should be made to the conservation sector, and should include:
a commitment to 10% of all marine habitat types under full no-take protection (as recommended by the Australian Marine Sciences Association)
a commitment to involvement of the conservation sector in developing the regulations that will define suitable activities and uses of the four marine park zones (described in Section 4 of the Marine Parks Act 2007).
a commitment to involvement of the conservation sector in defining the boundaries of the four different zone types
a commitment to adequate resourcing to ensure that Marine Protected Areas are properly maintained and managed.
These commitments will help to ensure that the Primary Objective of the Marine Parks Act 2007 will be met.
We also note that the Marine Park outer boundaries include 83% of the total length of terrestrial conservation parks adjacent to the coastline. Whilst this is commendable, the land parcels between conservation parks and the marine environment (eg Local Government managed lands) are excluded from the Marine Parks. This is likely to present significant challenges for the integrated management of terrestrial, coastal and marine systems. To maximise benefit for both terrestrial and marine conservation, this inconsistency in protection should be addressed.