Despite the opposition from local fishermen, the state government of South Australia has pushed through with the establishment of a network of 19 marine parks off the state's coast. The new zones took effect Thursday, Nov. 29.
The 19 sanctuary zones include Eastern Spencer Gulf, Encounter, Far West Coast, Franklin Harbor, Gambier Islands Group, Investigator, Lower South East, Lower Yorke Peninsula, Neptune Islands Group Marine Park, Nuyts Archipelago, Sir Joseph Banks Group, Southern Kangaroo Island, Southern Spencer, Thorny Passage, West Coast Bays, Western Kangaroo Island, Upper Gulf St Vincent, Upper South East and Upper Spencer Gulf.
"South Australia's network of 19 Marine Parks officially takes effect today - protecting our unique marine environment for the future," Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.
However, he clarified that fishing restrictions would be phased in. The bans will be strictly enforced March 2013, with all other fishing restrictions in place by October 2014.
"Today marks the end of a long public consultation process to establish the marine parks, which will help to conserve our irreplaceable marine environment while still allowing people to enjoy their favourite recreational activities," Mr Weatherill said.
"Our oceans have more diversity than the Great Barrier Reef - and many of the marine plants and animals living in southern Australian waters can't be found anywhere else on earth."
Brenton Schahinger, Chairman of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Council, said the number of marine zones had been trimmed.
"Eighteen months ago it was a very different story but a lot of work's been done since then and most recreational fishers tell us they can live with the current arrangements but of course some recreational fishers won't be happy, but majority tell us they can live with it," he told ABC News.
The sanctuary zones, where fishing is totally not allowed, makes up just six per cent of the state's waters.
"These zones allow for preservation, while elsewhere commercial fishers can continue to benefit from harvesting clean, green, premium South Australian seafood," Environment Minister Paul Caica.
To know the actual zone maps, click here http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/Zones/Zone_maps