Are you concerned about the health of New South Wales marine environment?
If you are, it is worth looking at the NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment Draft Report and providing a submission or comment to improve the assessment.
The report will be used to determine the most important threats and risks to the NSW marine environment and your submission could help decide where management actions are directed. Note: submissions are due this Saturday the 30th of April.
The website contains the current threat and risk assessment for a range of human activities on environmental assets (for e.g. fish, beaches, rocky reef etc.). It is interesting to see what the current risk ratings are for certain human activities and how the NSW Marine Estate justify these ratings.
To search for this information the NSW Marine Estate has developed an interactive tool to help you navigate through the draft assessment. Once you have identified a human activity (for e.g. recreational fishing) and its risk on an environmental asset (for e.g. the fish assemblage) there are links to a variety of reports used to justify this ranking plus a link to provide your own feedback.
The interactive tool did take me some time to get the hang of, so below are instructions and screen grabs to help you navigate your way through the site.
How to navigate the site
1 Follow the link here which will take you to the threat and risk assessment tool.
2 You will now have 3 different assessments you can view. These include; Coastal and Marine Waters, Estuaries and Social and Economic. Say for instance, you are interested in recreational fishing on the open coast of NSW, you would click “Coastal and Marine Waters”.
3 On the left-hand margin of the next page is where you can search for the information you require (see opposite screen grab).
Here you have options to specify which region of NSW, activity, environmental asset and risk level you are interested in.
For example, I am interested in the risk of recreational fishing on fish assemblages in southern NSW, so I would select the southern NSW box, “resource use” under Activity, using the drop-down menu to select “recreational fishing”. I can further refine the search by fishing method in the next drop down menu. For instance, selecting “Shore-based line fishing”.
Under Environment Asset I would select “fish assemblages”. I recommend leaving the risk level empty to see what the current draft risk level is, but you can play around with this.
4 Next click View Data.
5 On the following page you will see the risk level associated with the activity and environmental asset in your particular region. Below you can see that shore-based rec fishing is a moderate risk on the fish assemblage of southern NSW.
6 Next you can click on “Why this ranking” to get the following page, which provides a justification about this risk level and documents relating to this decision.
7 Finally, by clicking “Make a submission” you can provide your feedback and evidence. Maybe you think the risk ranking is adequate, or you may think it needs to be lower/higher. All submissions will be reviewed so it provides a great opportunity to have your say.
8 Note that if you make a submission you should provide evidence. Evidence includes scientific research or reports, supporting background reports or unpublished data or research. I think personal observations will also be sufficient. For example, I have made a submission on increasing sedimentation in my local estuary. Although I have no quantitative data on sedimentation rates, I have over 10 years of personal observations on how the estuary has changed due to land practices in the catchment. I think these qualitative observations will also be useful to include. Scientific reports to back up your claims will be more convincing however.
Submissions are due 30th of April.