We are a new environmental group in Port Stephens, affiliated with Econetwork Port Stephens. The Marine Parks Association was established by a group of concerned marine scientists and citizens to provide a community-based platform for the support of marine parks and sustainable marine resource management through research, education and advocacy across all sectors of the community.
The aim of the Marine Parks Association is to support and implement community based research, education and advocacy for marine parks and sustainable marine resource management. It will:
Support and implement community based citizen science research and ecological monitoring of a range of marine habitats and provide the necessary training and education for these activities
Provide training and education to encourage community stakeholders, the tourism and other industries, schools and university collaboration and participation
Develop community support for Marine Parks through awareness raising and education initiatives in the community, schools and tourism industry
Identify and drive policy and advocacy for conservation goals
Provide viable sustainable support for co-management processes in the PSGLMP area and Marine Parks elsewhere
The co-management process allows the community and stakeholders to play a collaborative role with government institutions in developing marine parks, sustainable marine resource management and achieving conservation goals.
The community and stakeholders have responsibilities and roles to play in achieving these goals. However this requires developing an accord and an understanding of the ecological and political processes involved with such partnerships, on both sides of the fence.
The Marine Parks Association intends to work closely with the Department of Primary Industries and NSW Marine Parks to develop the approach and methods for the proposed citizen science programmes ensuring that the data collected is relevant, comparable and supports existing research and management plans. This in turn provides communities with a better understanding of the issues and the ability to contribute to developing some of the solutions. The research results will provide the basis for developing education programmes in the schools and community. It is also intended to foster links with the University of Newcastle and other university marine science and tourism departments, encouraging and supporting students to participate in the research.