Wollongong ecologist and freediver Jeremy Day fears the creation of five new fishing zones in the Batemans Marine Park is a sign of the times.
Dylan Boag, who runs Woebegone Freedive in Jervis Bay with his partner Lara Hindmarsh, is also concerned new fishing zones will replace the four marine sanctuaries in the south coast seaside town.
"We have about four marine sanctuaries down here and we do about like 80 per cent of our diving in those sanctuaries and we know that they work," Mr Boag said.
"These sanctuaries are really good for tourism and they are good for fisherman as well. They are good for everyone really.
"That's why it is just a little bit of a surprise that has happened down the coast [Batemans Bay] and we are kind of worried that they might have Jervis Bay in their sights next."
The anger comes after Bega MP Andrew Constance announced on December 12 recreational fishers could immediately enter the new zones before the school holidays.
The five sites identified for increased access were Brou Lake (South), Clarks Bay (Freshwater Bay), Forsters Bay, Montague Island (East and South) and Nangudga Lake.
The outgoing president of Nature Coast Marine Group, Bill Barker told Narooma News he was appalled at the decision.
"I'm just appalled and dismayed by this," he said. "There's been no consultation with the community."
At the time NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said "these newly created zones within the Batemans Marine Park will allow families to access more fishing areas ahead of the summer school holidays.
Mr Constance added the announcement delivered on a commitment earlier this year to boost fishing access in the marine Park.
But Mr Barker said winding back conservation measures in the waters around Montague Island was "just vandalism".
This view was backed by Jeremy Day, who has completed an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and is in the process of doing a post graduate degree in Marine Science at the University of Wollongong.
"Montague Island is an internationally-renowned conservation area," Mr Day said.
"These changes have been rushed through. There has been no scientific study of what impact these changes will have."
He said the changes were going to impact the community, businesses and most of all the environment.
"I'm just basically an ecologist and I'm a fisherman. I eat from the sea. That's where I get my food, but I do it sustainably. If we want to do it sustainably, we need to have sanctuary zones."