The IUCN World Parks Congress began in Sydney this week, which takes place once every decade, and one discussion point will be the protection of the marine environment in Sydney Harbour. Researchers and a variety of groups believe that the bioregion stretching from the Hunter to Wollongong should be designated as a marine park in order to protect the fragile coasts from the rising population.
Sydney Harbour is home to more than six hundred marine species and has one of the richest marine environments in the world. The harbour alone also has three times the amount of fish species recorded along the entire coastline in the UK, and the beauty of Sydney’s marine life and scenery is what attracts many tourists to the area, including those on escorted tours of Australia.
Encouraging nature-based tourism to help with funding
Beauty spots that are already designated as national parks are also in discussion, with suggestions of increasing nature-based tourism in order to generate more funding to help protect the areas in question. By providing opportunities such as horse riding, mountain biking and well-developed hikes, it is thought that there will be enough income provided to support conservation activities.
The ideas are based on those already carried out in South Africa, which have offered a variety of facilities in order to attract tourists, which has in turn generated more financial help. The income generated has been used to combat wildlife poaching, maintain drinking water holes for animals and pay for park managers and rangers.
Australia would still be able to isolate 90 per cent of the parks, and leave 10 per cent open for visitors including those on tours with Scenic Tours, while still receiving a significant income.
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