NEWS - Backlash at Coral Sea Heritage Park closure

NEWS - Backlash at Coral Sea Heritage Park closure

Marine Queensland says it has expressed dismay at the announcement by Federal Environment, Heritage and the Arts Minister, Peter Garrett, that the Coral Sea will now be a protected environment zone as part of the broader Bio Regional Planning processes that are underway across Australia.

Queensland’s peak boating body joined with other industry and recreational fishing organisations reacting with mixed emotions after Minister Garrett on May 19 declared 972,000km2 of the Coral Sea, a Conservation Zone under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. While announcing the new Conservation Zone in Sydney, the minister also used the opportunity to launch the East Marine Bioregional Profile which is the first step in marine protected area planning for the East Coast.

“It would appear that this announcement is the first of what is expected to lead to the creation of a full-blown marine park for the Coral Sea,” said Marine Queensland general manager, Don Jones.

“The implication of this move is significant as the demonstrated impact of the GBRMP is expected to be similar if the proposal being advanced by green groups is implemented. This would mean a significant negative impact for the marine industry,” he said.

Marine Queensland said it facilitated a recent public protest meeting in Cairns which was coordinated by FNQ Region chairman, Wayne Bayne.
The meeting was attended by more than 1000 people and a petition with more than 1200 signatures was collected.

At an FNQ Region meeting in Cairns on May 19, the following resolutions for the consideration of the Marine Queensland Board were passed:

* Marine Queensland creates a Coral Sea Access Alliance as a mechanism for the collection of funds to advance the industry campaign against the Coral Sea Heritage Park;

* Marine Queensland will endeavor to replicate the awareness and public protest model developed in Cairns in other major provincial centres of Queensland; and,

* Marine Queensland collaborates with other relevant stakeholders to achieve a national lobby and coordination campaign against this initiative.

The petition was presented to Jim Turnour MP (Member for Leichhardt) at the industry meeting in Cairns on May 19.

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Photo: Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garret.