Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton spoke on Channel 9 News last night of plans for an artificial reef alongside the Sydney Opera House with the aim of monitoring and boosting biodiversity in the Harbour .
Greens marine and fisheries spokesperson Justin Field welcomed the artificial reef trial but said the most effective form of protection for biodiversity and other challenges facing marine habitats would be a new Sydney Marine Park.
“The Greens welcome the NSW Government’s evidence-based approach to improving biodiversity with an artificial reef trial in Sydney Harbour,” he said.
“The trial will tell us more about the role an artificial reef can play in improving life for the more than 600 species of marine life that call our Harbour home, yet it can’t solve some of the key threats facing our iconic waterway.
“Our precious Sydney harbour and surrounding coastal areas, clean waters and coastal lifestyle are under growing pressure from pollution, climate change, stormwater and sewage runoff and other human impacts.
“If the Minister is serious about her commitment to “breathe life into what is already a really healthy harbour” then she must urgently create a marine park for Sydney.
“Marine Parks and dedicated and fully protected Sanctuary Zones are essential to build resilience in our marine environment to respond to pressures and help ensure fish for the future.
“More than 90% of the NSW community, including fishers, support marine parks and sanctuaries an investment in a healthier marine environment for all. Over a decade of scientific assessment shows these protected areas are effective.
“A Sydney Marine Park will be something for everyone with some areas dedicated for environmental protection while other areas are open to recreational and commercial fishing and other commercial activities.
“The NSW Government’s own independent review of marine parks in 2011 recommended extending protections to the Sydney region.
“We know a Sydney Marine Park can help ensure a healthy future for our marine life, communities and economy. What we need now is the political leadership to make it happen,” Mr Field said.