Authorities respond to report on dredging impact

A STUDY undertaken by James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Maritime Science into offshore dredging and coral reefs has little relevance to Gladstone harbour, according to the Gladstone Ports Corporation.

A GPC spokeswoman said the study was undertaken in an environment vastly different to that of the Port of Gladstone, although the corporation continually reviewed science to improve maintenance and dredging operations.

The spokeswoman pointed out that the coral habitats in Gladstone harbour were not as plentiful as the reef systems in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"GPC's dredging operations do not occur within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park," she said.

A Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority representative said the organisation welcomed any scientific studies that advanced its knowledge of impacts to coral reefs.

"The effect of sedimentation, turbidity and other factors on coral health is an issue that we carefully consider when assessing permit applications and developing management and monitoring programs for approved developments," the representative said.

"We will also continue to carry out surveys through our Eye on the Reef program to monitor potential impacts such as the 'white syndromes' disease raised in this latest scientific paper."

The report can be viewed online at www.plosone.org.



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