Sutherland Shire Council seeks changes to Sydney Marine Park plans

Sutherland Shire Council has requested Deeban Spit be added to the new Sydney Marine Park and Shorebird Reserve given upgraded protection.

The submission to the state government’s draft plan  requests Deeban Spit, in Port Hacking, become a special purpose zone, where bait collection, boating and anchoring would be banned.

Under the proposal, the spit would be attached to the proposed 23 hectare Cabbage Tree Creek sanctuary zone, incorporating all of Cabbage Tree Creek and The Basin.

The council revealed it had previously approached the Department of Primary Industries to stop the commercial collection of bait from Deeban Spit,

Deeban Spit contains endangered populations of sea grasses and a number of protected migratory shore birds, the submission said. 

Evidence had been found the act of bait harvesting was a direct threat to migratory shore birds.

Explorer Matthew Flinders recorded “Deeban” as the name “used by the natives” to describe the spit, but the meaning was not given.

The council requested Shore Bird Reserve in Woolooware Bay be made part of the Towra Point sanctuary zone, rather than the special purpose zone suggested in draft plans.

Confusion over the issue of fishing was highlighted, following a backdown by the government that will allow recreational fishing in new sanctuary zones.

The submission questioned “the uncertainty regarding the future of current fishing restrictions, the complexity of enforcing the proposed marine park and the lack of Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) principles used in determining the amount of area set aside as sanctuary zones”.

The council opposed any changes to the management of existing protected aquatic parks.

“If the existing fishing management arrangements were to be reviewed or potentially changed, leaving only the proposed marine park protections in place, there would be a potential for a negative impact to the shire’s waterways,” the council said.

The submission outlined concerns regarding the expected increase in complexity in enforcing the proposed marine park.

“The marine areas within Sutherland Shire are currently covered by a number of marine protected areas and accordingly experience a high level of existing protection,” the council said.

”As such the proposed Marine Park project has a limited additional impact on the shire’s marine areas.” 

Cronulla MP and Attorney-General Mark Speakman has requested Shark Island be added to the marine park.

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