The long-awaited development of a new management plan for Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park is underway.
According to a NSW Department of Primary Industries spokesperson, the new management plan will identify the full suite of values the park provides, the threats to those values, and outline management objectives and actions/programs to improve the management of the park.
"Programs will include education, research, compliance, the delivery of access infrastructure among others," the spokesperson said.
"Regional stakeholder workshops were held in Nelson Bay last October, and the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park Advisory Committee, which includes members with a wide range of expertise on the values/activities of the marine park, are providing local knowledge and advice to help prepare the new management plan."
Keen Nelson Bay fisher and business owner Brent Hancock welcomed the review, "however, we do not want to see a repeat of the debacle of the current marine park where lines have been drawn on a map. We want solid research to support the outcomes," he said.
"The current marine park is definitely hurting tourism and recreational fishing in Port Stephens. The majority of visiting anglers do not know that the marine park exists. Most families want to spend their holidays recreating and not looking over their shoulder to see where they can and can't fish.
"It would be great to see a positive outcome for tourism and recreational fishing especially now since the advent of COVID-19. Removing lines on a map and letting people know that Port Stephens is open for business would be a huge win for the local economy."