Illegal developments threaten Qld fish stocks


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Qld Government says declared fish habitat areas at risk

Illegal developments threaten Qld fish stocks
Illegal developments threaten Qld fish stocks

Illegal pontoons, unauthorised boat ramps and mangrove vandals are damaging Queensland’s fish stocks, Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland, Tim Mulherin, said yesterday.

"In the past two years there has been a total of 25 fines or prosecutions undertaken in Queensland for unlawful development and removal or damage of marine plants," Mulherin said.

"To date $26,010 has been taken from 18 successful prosecutions and $7,000 has been taken for seven Fisheries Infringement Notices (FINs).

"There are an additional 15 prosecutions pending.

"Illegal structures such as pontoons and boat ramps can seriously damage marine habitats.

"In addition, we have had numerous cases of people destroying mangroves across the State, usually in the pursuit of improving views from their property."

Mulherin said if fish habitats were not protected, the future profitability of Qld's recreational, commercial and indigenous fisheries was at stake. He said that 75 per cent of Qld's fish species are dependant on estuaries and fish habitat areas for part of their life cycle, and that these environments are incredibly important for the commercial and recreational fishing industries.

He added that the Wide Bay area was cause for concern, following a spate of prosecutions in the region.

"In the past two years, there have been eight significant prosecutions in the Wide Bay region, with another four prosecutions pending.

"These have all been in relation to mangrove destruction and/or illegal pontoons and boat ramps in declared fish habitat areas," Mulherin said.

"People need to realise that this ongoing damage of fish habitat areas across Queensland is not going to be tolerated and fines will be imposed."

Mulherin said the main areas of concern for the Wide Bay area were in the Susan River, Burrum River and Isis River declared fish habitat areas.

"There have been a number of prosecutions in the Susan River with fines of up to $1500 plus court costs," Mulherin said.

"Several people have also been fined for performing works in the Burrum River - the largest fine imposed was $2000 plus court costs."

Mulherin urged Queenslanders to check whether their waterway structures are legal, to avoid fines or prosecution. He estimated that declared fish habitat areas generate $40 billion annually for Queenslanders through seafood production, fishing and boating, filtering of nutrients and erosion control.

For more information about fish habitats visit www.dpi.qld.gov.au or phone the Business Information Centre on 13 25 23.

Photos: The Qld Government says damage to marine plants can seriously affect fish stocks.

 


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