Sea creatures won't accept fishing in marine sanctuaries

A woman protester in a flesh-coloured body suit had passers-by taking a second look at Oak Park, Cronulla, on the weekend of February 8 and 9.

Eye-catching: Nicci Johnson (front) and other protesters at Oak Park. Picture: John Veage

Eye-catching: Nicci Johnson (front) and other protesters at Oak Park. Picture: John Veage

Beverly Hills dive shop manager Nicci Johnson was among a group wearing dress-up, who called on the state government not to permanently allow fishing in marine sanctuaries along the NSW coast.

State cabinet is expected to make a decision soon following a 12-month trial.

Jervis Bay and Port Stephens are the closest marine sanctuaries to Sutherland Shire, but Cronulla was among 13 beaches chosen for the "day of action".

Ms Johnson, who dressed as a nudibranch [sea slug] said, with less than 7 per cent of NSW waters protected by sanctuary zones, coastal communities were "up in arms" that a temporary situation could become permanent.

Ms Johnson said the difference between the underwater environment in marine sanctuaries and normal fishing grounds was "astonishing".

RISK STUDY

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said, in March last year, the government announced ‘‘a new approach to sustainable management of the NSW marine estate’’ in response to an independent scientific study.

Two new bodies had been established to ensure decisions were based on scientific advice.

Ms Hodgkinson said the government was awaiting advice on a risk assessment study following an amnesty granted for recreational line fishing from ocean beaches and headlands within sanctuary zones.

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