(Second Reading Debate, 22 October 2014, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
The Marine Estate Management Bill 2014 creates a new Act for marine park and aquatic reserve management. New South Wales has immensely rich marine biodiversity that includes sea dragons, dolphins, whales, sharks, seals, Opera House seals, coral, crustaceans, molluscs, starfish and sea slugs, as well as numerous fish species, 70 per cent of which are only found in Australia. However, the future of life in our waters is at risk from climate change and ocean acidification, pollution, overfishing and a lack of safe havens for marine life to recover and rebuild. The 2009 New South Wales State of the Environment report identified 45 aquatic species and communities listed as vulnerable, endangered or extinct. Eight of the 23 key commercial fish species are currently overfished.