The Pumicestone Passage
The Pumicestone Passage Contributed

Man who damaged Pumicestone Passage plants fined $10k

A SPRINGWOOD man has been fined $10,000 in the Caboolture Magistrates Court after being found guilty of damaging protected marine plants to improve the view at his  Pumicestone Passage property.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) officer Vaughan Heath said the fine reflects the seriousness of the offence.

"Cutting down or destroying marine plants on Queensland shores is illegal and incredibly destructive to Queensland's fisheries resources," Mr Heath said.

"The Fisheries Act 1994 protects all marine plants in Queensland including mangroves, seagrass, salt couch, and in specific circumstances Melaleuca and Hibiscus species, regardless of whether marine plants are on private, leasehold or public lands, or alive or dead.

"It is illegal to:

• hedge, trim, lop or spray marine plants with herbicide
• remove marine plants for river views or other aesthetic reasons
• remove mangroves or salt couch from a beach or foreshore
• run machinery over marine plants
• fill tidal lands
• dump garden waste (e.g. grass clippings and pruning) onto tidal areas."

Mr Heath said the future sustainability of Queensland's recreational, commercial and indigenous fisheries was at stake if fish habitats were not protected.

"Even hedging can change the productivity of the mangroves and reduce the number of animals that live beneath the canopy due to excessive shading.

"We hope this prosecution will make people think twice about damaging protected habitat areas.

"Damaging marine plants can carry a maximum penalty of $330,000."

Residents are encouraged to help protect marine plants and report any damage to the 24 hour, toll-free Fishwatch hotline 1800 017 116.

For more information on marine plant protection, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.



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