Legislation that will protect the Deep Stingray City and Sandbar areas in the North Sound is expected to be ready to come into effect within a couple of months.
The legislation is currently being finalised, explained Assistant Director with the Department of Environment, Tim Austin.
The two areas of the North Sound that are to be protected will be known as Wildlife Interaction Zones (formerly called Special Management Areas). The zones also cover the surrounding areas, he said.
The new regulations will restrict numbers of visitors and regulate feeding and handling of stingrays at these locations.
‘It’s basically about the better management of people’s use of the areas,’ said Mr. Austin.
Earlier this week, the CITA Water sports Committee Chairman Stephen Broadbelt said he hoped the new regulations could be brought into effect as soon as possible.
‘Over five years of time and effort was spent in compiling comprehensive recommendations for the protection and management of our Stingray attractions. It is hoped that all recommendations will be implemented as soon as possible.’
The amendment to the Marine Conservation Law that will enable the creation of the Wildlife Interaction Zones is almost completed.
It still needs to go to, and be passed in, the Legislative Assembly as a White Paper and then needs to be passed by Cabinet. It also must be gazetted.
Mr. Austin said this process should easily be completed within two months.
Also, a special boat to manage the Wildlife Interaction Zones has been purchased and a special marine officer who will eventually patrol the WIZs once they have been set up, has been employed at DoE.