Science should drive
marine management


Last month the NSW Government
announced its Marine Estate Management (MEM) Strategy.
The Strategy is an overarching framework for
the management of the NSW marine and estuarine environment. Part of the
Strategy was the establishment of a Marine Park in the Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion,
which includes Sydney. 


The Sydney Institute of
Marine Science (SIMS) is the largest independent marine science institute in


In a submission to the
Government during the public consultation period lasting until September 27, SIMS
expressed their strong support for the overarching MEM Strategy and their
support for marine parks as an important component of managing the marine


Prof. Peter Steinberg,
Director of SIMS, said that “The underlying science is very strong in support
of marine parks, particularly sanctuary zones, as a means of enhancing both
conservation values and fishing.”


Earlier this week, NSW Minister
for Primary Industries Niall Blair announced a change in the zoning of marine
park sites in and around Sydney and the Hawkesbury bioregion.


Prof. Steinberg commented on
this loss of Sanctuary zones, “This loss of Sanctuary zones is regrettable. We would
encourage the Government to contemplate other innovative approaches to managing
the impact of fishing at these sites. For example, we know that the biggest
fish often have a very disproportionate effect on the reproductive output of a


“So size limits on both small
and large fish – so called ‘slot limits’ – together with enhanced
compliance, are likely to have positive effects on fish stocks. While such
measures do not directly replace the originally proposed Sanctuary zones, they
could go some way towards managing threats from fishing pressure.”


The full submission by SIMS is