Status report on SA’s marine parks marks World Oceans Day

Date posted: 08 June 2017

Hon Ian Hunter MLC

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation

A progress summary on South Australia’s marine park network has been published online.to celebrate World Oceans Day today.
 
The Marine Parks Progress Summary highlights the work of marine scientists and their monitoring activities and achievements since South Australia’s 19 marine park management plans were implemented in 2012.
 
The summary highlights that South Australia’s Marine Parks Program is tracking well to manage and monitor our marine park network.
 
Over the last five years the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources scientists and partners have monitored our state’s marine parks with more than 300 surveys by divers and over 400 underwater video surveys.
 
Since October 2014 there have been 4190 compliance patrols, with 240 warnings and six expiations issued.
 
A case study of the Sponge Gardens Sanctuary Zone off the coast of Kangaroo Island in Encounter Marine Park has revealed that there are over 200 species of plants and animals within the zone, including harlequin fish, an iconic southern Australian reef species that is of conservation concern.

To download the reader friendly Marine Park Progress Summary visit marineparks.sa.gov.au

Background
 
Marine parks are designed to protect plants and animals and the marine environment where they live – like national parks do on land. Sanctuary zones are ‘look but no take' areas within marine parks to help protect breeding grounds and other areas vital to marine life.
 
In South Australia there are 19 marine parks and 83 sanctuary zones.

Marine park boundaries were proclaimed in 2009, with management plans proclaimed in 2012 and full implementation from 1 October 2014 when fishing restrictions began inside sanctuary zones. 

The Marine Parks Progress Summary will be an annual publication to provide a snap-shot of South Australia’s marine park network. A major marine parks assessment will be released in late 2017 and 2021. All this information will inform the 10-year marine park review in 2022.
 
Every year World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honour, help protect and conserve the world’s oceans. This year’s theme is ‘our oceans, our future’. 
 
Quotes attributable to Environment Minister Ian Hunter
 
Southern Australia's waters are home to an amazing diversity of marine life, with about 85 per cent of our marine species found nowhere else in the world.
 
Our creation of marine parks is one of the most significant programmes ever undertaken in this state. They were developed using the best available local, national and international science, and each marine park is zoned to provide for conservation and ongoing community and industry use.
 
The Marine Park Progress Summary is a snap-shot of the big picture to record management activities and the ecological, social and economic status of South Australia’s underwater world.
 
Our experienced scientists are closely monitoring South Australia’s marine parks using the latest technology to find out how nature is responding to protection.
 
Marine parks need to be in place for roughly 10 to 15 years before biodiversity and economic changes can start showing their full benefit. 

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