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Solitary Islands Marine Park zoning plan - 1 March to 26 May 2011

Important: The information accessible via this webpage is no longer current and relates to the former zoning plan for Solitary Islands Marine Park, which was in force from 1 March to 26 May 2011. This information is provided for historical reference only.

The former zoning plan was abolished on 26 May 2011 and the current zoning plan restored by the NSW Government.

Information package on former zoning plan

The following information provides an overview and further detail on the former zoning plan, which that was in force from 1 March to 26 May 2011:

Main changes in the former zoning plan

The former zoning plan implemented from 1 March to 26 May 2011 included eight main changes to the current zoning plan for Solitary Islands Marine Park. The former zoning plan:

  • straightened zone boundaries to improve manageability and enhance compliance at North West Rock, South West Solitary Island, South Solitary Island, Split Solitary Island, Jones Point, Pebbly Beach Headland, Arrawarra Headland, Flat Top Point, Green Bluff and Look-At-Me-Now Headland
  • changed several areas of sanctuary zone to habitat protection zone to improve opportunities for sustainable use of the marine park, including at Minnie Water Back Beach (south), Jones Beach (north), Fiddamans Beach (north) and an area between Bare Bluff Headland and South West Solitary Island
  • increased sanctuary zones to improve habitat representation at Diggers Camp, North Solitary Island, North West Rock, the Central sanctuary zone, Deepwater sanctuary zone south east of North Solitary Island and the eastern portion of the Southern sanctuary zone
  • established three new Aboriginal special purpose zones, one each at Corindi River, Corindi rock platform and Red Rock Beach, acknowledging the cultural significance of these areas and providing for ongoing recreational use
  • increased the area of habitat protection zone in the northern section and southern section of the park to further protect seafloor habitats from the impacts of trawling. Key areas for prawn trawling are still accessible in the central section of the park including a deepwater corridor
  • restricted recreational fishing methods in grey nurse shark key aggregation sites at North and South Solitary Islands, limiting methods to either spearfishing, trolling (using artificial lure or fly only whilst the vessel is underway) or spinning (using artificial lure or fly only). This is managed as a closure under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and is similar to restrictions already in place for commercial fishers
  • changed arrangements for the protection of species by simplifying restrictions and providing additional protection for all species of anemone fish and wobbegong sharks in the marine park
  • established consistency with fisheries management rules, particularly for habitat protection zones.

Community consultation on draft zoning plan

A draft zoning plan was publicly available for comment for a period of three months prior to the former zoning plan being finalised in January 2011. An information package on the proposed changes to the zoning plan was released on 28 May 2010. Community consultation on the draft zoning plan commenced on 16 June 2010 and concluded on 17 September 2010.

Consultation was undertaken to obtain feedback from the public and a range of stakeholder groups on the draft zoning plan.

A total of 42 stakeholder meetings and community information days were held during the community consultation period.
A total of 6,519 submissions were received on the draft zoning plan, primarily as on-line submissions.

Approximately 40 percent of submissions were supportive and 60 percent unsupportive of the draft zoning plan as proposed. Unsupportive submissions were either seeking more access for fishing or seeking more sanctuary zones to improve conservation outcomes. The key issues raised related to habitat representation in sanctuary zones, proposed prohibition on trawling, potential socio-economic impacts, and related 'local issues' connected to specific locations along the marine park coastline.

A summary of consultation and submissions on the draft zoning plan is available for further information.

The Advisory Committee for Solitary Islands Marine Park provided detailed advice on the draft zoning plan to the Marine Parks Authority, and then Minister for Climate Change and the Environment and Minister for Primary Industries.

Submissions, input from community information days and stakeholder meetings, and advice from the local Advisory Committee were considered and resulted in changes to proposals put forward in the draft zoning plan. For example:

  • the area of sanctuary zone changed to habitat protection zone near Bare Bluff became available for fishing all year, increased from 6 months, and anchoring was permitted
  • the proposed prohibition on trawling was not implemented, instead key areas identified by the fishing industry remained available offshore of the Woolgoolga/Arrawarra region and to the east of North Solitary Island, with trawling prohibited in new areas of habitat protection zone offshore of Wooli and Coffs Harbour
  • three new Aboriginal special purpose zones were implemented and recognised the cultural significance of the Corindi River, Corindi rock platform and Red Rock Beach
  • the Central sanctuary zone proposed in the draft zoning plan was changed to provide access for fishing near Barcoongere Rocks and for prawn trawling in an area of general use zone south-east of North Solitary Island, with a separate deepwater area of sanctuary zone including deep reefs and soft sediment habitats
  • proposed boundaries of sanctuary zones at North West Rock, Split Solitary Island, Diggers Camp, and Jones Point were changed to improve fishing opportunities.

Background – draft zoning plan information package

The following information package was available for community consultation on the draft zoning plan:


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