Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: July 30

PROTECTION: Corlette's Mark Clifton hopes marine park sanctuary zones will remain in place.
PROTECTION: Corlette's Mark Clifton hopes marine park sanctuary zones will remain in place.

Lessons learned from pandemic

Watching the COVID-19 inflection curves daily, one must learn that community transmissions are sending innocent people to hospitals, ICUs and some to eventual death, unfortunately.

No amount of testing will stop a pandemic, if people continue to foul the rules and gather thoughtlessly in numbers. Clearly one thing we must learn from Melbourne is that densely populated high-rise residential buildings are more prone to community transmissions in large numbers and are hard to prevent and contain. Planners, developers and councils must learn from COVID-19 before proposing any high-rise residential building anywhere let alone on a landlocked peninsula like Tomaree. But, when will they ever learn?

We hope they will before it's too late.

Ernest To, Medowie

Sanctuaries worth protecting

Though there is touted a review of the NSW Marine Parks Management Plans, recent articles in the Examiner, and online, seem to infer a determination has already been made by the Minister to open previously excluded sanctuary zones to recreational fishing.

Having been lucky enough to work as a research diver, marine ecologist, and snorkel guide in the tourist industry for nearly 20 years, I'm astounded that a review of NSW Marine Parks Management Plans would support a decision of this sort. I have had first-hand experience of seeing sea urchin barrens on several of the Port's offshore islands slowly recover after a sanctuary was declared. All studies into the effectiveness of marine parks have determined the introduction of no-take, or sanctuary zones, particularly within estuaries, provides a greater marine diversity. They are the oceans nursery grounds, where marine life breed, and young are raised.

Mark Clifton (Marine Ecologist, Research Diver), Corlette

Time to increase sanctuaries

I really enjoyed reading Charlie Elias' article on marine parks scrutiny [Examiner, July 16].

We in Port Stephens are extremely privileged to live in a superb eco area. That same privilege is extended to the tourists who visit to enjoy our beautiful beaches and clean waterways and I am sure that, like me, they look forward to the day when we extend the size of our marine sanctuary.

By increasing the size of the marine sanctuary this is the way forward to keeping and improving on the wonderful marine creatures found in our waterways. Giving these creatures sanctuary helps them grow in abundance. Let's face it, whale watching would not be what it is today if we had stood by and allow people to carry on killing the whale.

Irene Jones, Salamander Bay

Support vital during COVID-19

I am writing to express my appreciation to everyone who supported The Smith Family's 2020 Winter Appeal.

At a time when Australians have been challenged like never before, we have been humbled and inspired by tremendous generosity. Our charity supports the educational achievement of children in need as a practical pathway out of poverty. The donations we received for our Winter Appeal will mean our vital out-of-school learning and mentoring programs can now be delivered to thousands more students living in disadvantage. The public's help could not have come at a better time. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, there was strong evidence that disadvantaged students were falling behind at school through not having the same learning opportunities as their more advantaged classmates. At age 15, the gap is equivalent to around three years of schooling.

The Smith Family exists to change children's lives through supporting their education. To do this, we rely on the generous support of thousands of Australians.

Dr Lisa O'Brien, CEO, The Smith Family