The draft east coast marine plan takes in the Solitary Islands Marine Park as well as open waters.
The draft east coast marine plan takes in the Solitary Islands Marine Park as well as open waters.

Draft plan to protect marine life

THE Federal Government has released a draft plan to protect marine life off the east coast of Australia, including the North Coast.

The plan affects the Temperate East Marine Region, which covers 1.47 million square kilometres of ocean from the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland to Bermagui on the far south coast of New South Wales.

The region is home to the endangered grey nurse shark.

The proposed network of marine reserves does not include state waters and starts 5.5km from the coastline.

"The Gillard Government is working with communities to establish a marine reserves network to support a sustainable future for our marine environment and ensure our oceans stay healthy and productive," environment minister Tony Burke said on Friday.

"Through our initial consultation in the development of these draft plans, where possible, we have avoided having an impact on local jobs or people who love to fish."

The plan aims to increase collaboration between fisheries management agencies and the fishing industry to improve the understanding of the impact of fisheries on the environment.


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