Marine park review released
A review of SA marine parks has come up inconclusive.
Five years ago, 83 marine sanctuary zones were implemented in South Australia.
The SA Marine Parks Five-Year Status Report released this week has concluded that not enough time has passed to detect changes in the size of fish, abundance or diversity of biota within the zones, except for one.
A review of the Cape de Coudecic region did show rock lobsters had increased in size and abundance.
“The marine parks have only been set up for five years and you need a reasonable amount of time, given the long life histories of some of these species, to have passed before you're going to see increases in size, abundance and diversity,” said researcher Dr Bronwyn Gillanders.
“It's essentially just establishing baseline information that you can use to assess change.”
SA’s coastline is split into 19 marine parks, which together contain 83 different zones.
The review found that biodiversity and ecosystem function has been maintained in the sanctuary zones, including critical areas near islands off the Eyre Peninsula and the West Coast.
Professor Gillanders, from the University of Adelaide School of Biological Sciences, said the potential positives could extend far beyond the protected areas.
“If we can get larger fish in the marine parks, which is what you're aiming to do by not removing fish species, essentially, they can contribute more in terms of reproduction,” she told the ABC.
“Some of them can travel thousands of kilometres, depending on their life's history, the length of their larval life. Most fish have a pelagic or larval period when they're in the water column [currents] and that's where they're dispersed.
“Some might only have larval periods that are weeks, others might be a couple of months, and that way you get them moving different distances and that's the idea around having sanctuary areas that are connected to one another.”
The review also addresses concerns that hat commercial and recreational fishing would be negatively affected.
The new report shows the price of local fish has remained stable, commercial fisheries are catching similar amounts and getting similar value from it, and recreational fishing participation rates have remained stable too.
Another review is legislated to occur by 2022.