Wollongong Greens councillor Cath Blakey has welcomed the NSW Government proposal for improved marine protection around the Five Islands and will seek formal endorsement of the plan by council on Monday, 3 September.
The ocean surrounding Five Islands is a popular diving spot attracting local and international visitors and a group of bachelor fur seals now calls Martin Islet home. The islands are also important seabird nesting areas.
Cr Blakey said the Wollongong community loved its coastal lifestyle, from swimming and diving to fishing and observing marine life, and wanted it protected now and in the future.
“I’m pleased our local marine icon of Five Islands has been chosen as one of 25 sites along the NSW coastline for secure, lasting protection,” she said.
“Wollongong is a proud coastal council and community with marine resources that are second to none.
“But our oceans and marine life have never been under more pressure from climate disruption, pollution, coastal development and other human impacts.
“Sanctuary zones, together with other protected areas, are essential for healthy oceans, to build resilience in our aquatic environments and help ensure fish for the future.
“I urge my fellow councillors to support the motion of support for our new marine protected areas. I also encourage everyone in the community to let the Government know how much we value our marine lifestyle and resources by making a submission online or coming along to informal consultations being held at Wollongong Markets on Friday, 14 September.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for leaving a lasting legacy of more sustainable and healthy marine environment,” Cr Blakey said.
Wollongong Greens councillor Cath Blakey’s Draft Motion
[due for consideration by Wollongong City Council on Monday 3rd September 2018]
“I formally move that
1) Council notes -
(a) The Release of Phase Three of the NSW Government’s Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment including a new marine park proposal for the region and a six week community consultation.
(b) As part of the Plan:
(i) a proposal for new protections as part of a proposed Sanctuary and Special Purpose Zones around Five Islands’ group; and
(ii) a proposed Special Purpose Zone around the already approved Wollongong Artificial Reef site.
(c) The closing date for public submissions to the Plan is 27 September 2018.
2) Council staff make a submission supporting these proposed marine park protections and encouraging the NSW Government to consider further appropriate Sanctuary Zone options for the Wollongong coastline.
3) Council’s submission make strong recommendations to the NSW Government to ensure an effective community awareness program is implemented to inform residents of the new zoning once in place as well as long-term enforcement to ensure the success of the protected sites.”
The NSW State Government's Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment Phase Three webpage provides additional information about the proposal and all sites as part of the plan: