Local marine assessment good news

BELLINGEN Environment Centre’s Leif Nielsen Lemke says further scientific assessment of the Coffs Coast’s offshore areas is good news.

The release, by Federal Minister for Environmental Protection Peter Garrett, of the Areas for Further Assessment of the East Marine Region, includes the Clarence area from Hat Head in the south to Broome Head in the north and stretches from 5km from the coast to between 70-100 km from the coast.

Mr Nielsen Lemke said the process had been initiated by the Howard Federal Government in 2002 and continued under the Rudd Government ensuring broad political support.

“This process will for the first time allow a comprehensive assessment of the unique economic and environmental values of all marine life in the area,” Mr Lemke said.

“It will be a great help to recreational and commercial fishers in the future as well as protecting part of this special environment for future generations to enjoy.

“The identification of this area as part of the broad East Coast assessment is an indication that the marine life of our coast is unique and special.

“Such scientific assessment and consultation will provide the means to better protect this vital resource and the bio-diversity. It should identify where new fully protected areas are needed to allow us to pass on part of this special environment untouched to future generations.

“It should provide the tools to make the fishing industry sustainable and the ability for future generations to ‘catch a feed’ and provide a stable resource to sustain the tourism industry depending on the marine aquatic environment around the Coffs Coast.

“This research is what all the ‘stakeholders’ have asked for.”

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