The Australian Marine Conservation Society has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement to fulfill their election promise and to seek public comment on a proposal to declare a fish habitat zone for the Fitzroy Delta and Keppel Bay Area.
Imogen Zethoven, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director said the government’s proposed fish habitat zone is welcome news as it will protect local fish nursery areas, support local recreational fishing and prevent port development, shipping and dredging from a beautiful part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, home to the unique snub fin dolphin.
“We’ve seen plans for coal ports on Balaclava Island and Port Alma, and proposals for mid-Reef transshipping, millions of tonnes of dredging and hundreds more coal ships ploughing through the Reef. They were opposed by the majority of Australians.
“Local heroes and a grassroots effort around Australia have stood up to the previous state government and the coal industry arguing they need to protect the Reef, making it a massive issue at the last state election.
“This is the next step in ensuring that comes to pass with the state government announcing the second round of community consultation for the plan.
“It will ensure there is no repeat of the mistakes of Gladstone Harbour, where massive amounts of dredging and dumping caused an environmental disaster that caused serious harm to the local fishing industry.
“If adopted, this protection plan will ensure that people can come from around Australia and the world to experience the Great Barrier Reef in all it’s majesty.
“These types of regulations exist to protect the places we love and value in a variety of ways.
“The Fitzroy Delta is the Sistine Chapel of estuaries. It’s one of the biggest river systems in the world and it feeds the famous Keppel Islands and Great Barrier Reef. We welcome greater protection of this magnificent natural area from the coal industry.
“We now urge the community to get behind the protection and care of this unique and wonderful place,” said Ms Zethoven.
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