The Coastwatchers Association Inc. is the leading community environmental and conservation group serving the South Coast of NSW, principally in the Shire of Eurobodalla between Narooma and Batemans Bay.

Welcome to our website. We aim to provide information and resources in this website such that it can be used as a significant community resource. We welcome comments or suggested improvements (click the envelope icon on the right to email).

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NCMG & CW Submission to Southern NSW Marine Tourism Strategy: Stakeholder Workshop (Narooma)

The following comments represent feedback by the Nature Coast Marine Group and Coastwatchers on the discussion paper prepared for the Narooma workshop in March 2018.

The discussion paper does not mention the State Government’s 2014 Marine Estate Community Survey, which gathered extensive data on attitudes of NSW people towards the marine environment. This can be accessed at:


The survey is not without flaws, but is able to shed light on many aspects of the relationship between NSW residents and the coast.

A problem with the discussion paper is that it gives little attention to the main attraction of the area – its laid back unspoiled character. No mention is made of the extensive network of national and marine parks. While most people would wish to see development in tourism so that the region could benefit economically, particularly in terms of employment, any strategy has to be conscious also of the potentially adverse impact of increased visitation and population on the quality of the very attractions that draw people to the area. Any tourist development has to be focused on bringing benefit to the area and its people. If the result is just growth for the sake of growth, with benefit going to the few rather than the many, the exercise will have no point.

We are puzzled at the priority given to fishing in the discussion paper and were struck by the extent to which the statistics used are misleading. On the importance of fishing in the overall picture, the number involved in fishing (612,935) is just 6.2% of the total number of visitors (9.95 Million) so clearly is fairly small rather than of overriding significance. The claim that participation in fishing has grown on average by 5% p.a. over 6 years is simply a product of the time frame you have chosen to use. If you had used a 5 year time frame you would have had to conclude that participation in fishing had declined by over 3% p.a. Fishing is moreover a heavily male-oriented activity (NSW DPI, Survey of Recreational Fishing 2015, p 20), which indicates that its appeal is not broadly-based. This is not to say there is a problem with fishing per se, but it should be seen as a ‘traditional’ holiday activity that may be less and less a focus for future visitors, while still constituting a part of the region’s attraction.

The nature of people’s engagement with the marine environment is complex and sometimes can be difficult to articulate. Nevertheless there is no doubt that people feel a deep personal attachment to the ocean and shore that brings them a sense of peace, wonder and renewal. We believe it is this that attracts visitors, who experience these feelings through a range of activities that are in harmony wth their surroundings.

For this reason, it seems odd that the discussion paper would devote four pages to analysing ‘attributes’ and infrastructure relating to recreational fishing and virtually nothing to these other activities that are important attractions for visitors. These include:

  • Whale watching
  • Seal watching
  • Kayaking
  • SCUBA diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Birdwatching
  • Rock shelf rambling
  • Joy flights
  • Sky diving
  • Camping
  • Walking
  • Dining

We would see these areas as underpinning future growth and worthy of extensive consideration and promotion of how to maximise benefits to visitors. For example, scuba divers can, in a half-day trip out of Narooma, enjoy one of the world’s great wildlife experiences, diving first with the Grey Nurse Sharks and then with the Australian fur seals. Grey Nurse Sharks at the Tollgate Islands can also be visited from Batemans Bay. Ecotourism to Montague Island is consistently highly rated, with visitors able to see a wide range of wildlife, including whales, and to visit the historical attractions on the Island. There is also scope for innovative approaches to tourism, with a local entrepreneur, David Rowland, working on the use of underwater remotely operated cameras from tourist boats to show visitors the wonders of the marine world in real time (see www.undersearov.com). There are many ways in which low-impact measures could facilitate such activities – such as walking trails, signage, entry ramps to the water for scuba divers and snorkelers and a wider range of guided tours, for example to rock shelves and inlets.

The description provided of various ‘benchmarks’ for coastal tourism experiences are of interest, but we regard several of them as completely inappropriate to the local situation. References to the surroundings of large cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have little relevance for South Coast NSW. The San Francisco Bay, for example, has been utterly changed for the worse from its natural state by dredging and invasive species. Few South Coast residents would welcome the construction of theme parks as a substitute for natural attractions. Nova Scotia’s tourism approach is more relevant, but its status as a seafood exporter has to be seen against the background of the collapse of the previous cod fishery as a result of overfishing. There may also be lessons that could be drawn from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

We are sceptical of increasing cruise ship visitation to the region. We would oppose any infrastructure developments that had harmful impacts on the coastal environment. That said, visits that are consistent with care for the environment can be supported.


Bill Barker
President, Nature Coast Marine Group

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CW request to Council to adopt OEH Long Beach Sandy Place Reserve Coastal Wattle management Sep 2017 Report

Dear Mayor and Councillors – Eurobodalla Shire Council

I am writing in response to The Long Beach Community Association letter to Coastwatchers requesting our support for the Long Beach Coastal Wattle Management Project as outlined in the attached OEH Report dated 17 September 2017.

The Coastwatchers Association strongly urges Councillors to adopt the OEH Report and recommendations to the Council meeting of 27 March 2018.

Council is responsible for the management of the Long Beach foreshore and wetland on land classified as Crown Land – Recreation and Resting.  They have an obligation to follow the OEH advice for the on-going management of Coastal Wattle. To do otherwise could lead to the failure of the dune to protect the Long Beach foreshore reserve from coastal hazards and sea level rise in the future.

The OEH recommendations are also consistent with the intent of the condition of development approval for the Long Beach Estate, which specified the planting of deep rooted and varied vegetation that would stabilise the dune and prevent erosion.

As our Association focuses on protecting the natural environment, we endorse the OEH recommendations for the on-going management of Coastal Wattle; to increase the dune stability and resilience to coastal hazards and improve the ecological function and biodiversity of the dunes in the longer term.

This would be a desirable environmental, economic and social outcome for the entire Long Beach community, not just those whose property adjoins the reserve and seemingly unaware of Important role Coastal Wattle plays in protecting and stabilising the dune.

See letter attached for full contents of letter.

Yours sincerely

Joslyn van der Moolen – Secretary

Coastwatchers support for LBC Long beach coastal wattle project (97KB .pdf)

Long Beach coastal wattle management project – OEH evaluation (4MB .pdf)

Posted in Coastal Management, Eurobodalla Shire Council, Letters, Planning, Submissions | Leave a comment

Letter to the Editor – Bay Post – March 23rd 2018

South Coast conservationists have declared the UN International Forests Day on March 21 as a day of shame for the NSW Forestry Corporation and the NSW Government because of the systematic destruction of South Coast forests.

They should hang their heads in shame while the world recognises the critical importance of intact, healthy forests for cool climate, carbon stores, forest plants and animals, clean air, clean water and soil conservation.

They have systematically strip mined the South Coast forests for logs from Eden to Nowra for nearly 50 years and caused immense damage to nature. It is industrial logging at its worst – smash and grab as much as you can, as quickly as you can and then move on before the community really understand what they have lost.

Yet they are determined to bulldoze through new 20 year Regional Forest Agreements that will operate under even weaker environmental regulation. They plan to turn the forests into stick farms to fuel power stations, supply the Eden Chip Mill with woodchips for paper pulp and provide firewood to Canberra and Sydney.

“Forestry is now so desperate for logs to meet its unsustainable sawmill contracts,  for woodchips to the Eden Chip Mill and commercial firewood that it has commenced to log intensively the sight screens along the Princes Highway and close into coastal towns like Mogo, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma and Bermagui.”

Noel Plumb

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UN International Forests Day 21 March 2018 – Day of Shame for South Coast Forestry over destructive logging and Rotten Forest Deals.

Download (Coastwatchers MR 21 Mar 2018 Protest on International Forest Day 82KB .pdf) or read below.

South Coast conservationists have declared the UN International Forests Day as a day of shame for the NSW Forestry Corporation and the NSW Government because of the systematic destruction of South Coast forests. Continue reading

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Long Beach Coastal Management Project

In response to The Long Beach Community Association letter to Coastwatchers requesting our support for the Long Beach Coastal Wattle Management Project, we provide the following response.

In the first instance, we acknowledge the ecological value of Coastal Wattle as a dune stabiliser and pioneer species for colonising and stabilising sand dunes and secondly that, it is endemic to the south coast of NSW, its natural habitat being coastal sand dunes, headlands and adjacent alluvial flats. Continue reading

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16 March 2018 CW Bulletin inc Wed 21 Mar B Bay Forest Rally

Coastwatchers Bulletin 16 March 2018

Dear Coa​stwatchers Members and Friends

HELP WANTED for the planet!

There are a number of interesting and exciting things happening but Coastwatchers needs volunteers for various tasks if we are to support these events. Please consider what you could take on and let us know ASAP Continue reading

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Rolling Logs Over is Purely Political – Keith Joliffe

In the last few weeks, social media has begun predicting a “roll-over” for the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). RFAs are arrangements between the Commonwealth and States aimed at balancing the needs of the forestry industry and its small dependent communities with the need for environmental protection. These agreements were struck in response to intense conflict between environmental and forestry interests spanning the 1970s to the 1990s. Continue reading

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South Coast Conservationists Reject NSW Government Propaganda on Rotten Forest Deals (AKA Regional Forest Agreements)

Coastwatchers, Eurobodalla Shire’s largest conservation group, has rejected as complete nonsense the recent attempts by the NSW Department of Primary industries (DPI) to defend the existing Regional Forest Agreements and proposed 20 year extensions as ecologically sustainable and economically responsible. Continue reading

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Letter to the Editor of The Beagle re Gold Mine Tailings Dam Collapse

Please click here to read the letter, dated March 11th 2018, on the Beagle website.

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Court finds NSW Government land-clearing laws invalid

The Land and Environment Court today ruled the NSW Government’s land-clearing laws invalid because they were made unlawfully. Continue reading

Posted in Land Clearing, New South Wales Government, Planning | Leave a comment