Public input wanted on fish habitat protection in CQ
The State Government is calling for public input on a proposal to protect three important Central Queensland fish habitats, and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef.
Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles said there were currently 70 declared Fish Habitat Areas in Queensland which protected more than one million hectares of essential fish habitats such as mangroves, salt marsh and seagrass meadows.
"Declared Fish Habitat Areas provide long-term protection for fish habitats, while still allowing the community to enjoy recreational, commercial and traditional fishing, boating and recreation activities.
"They play an important role in the protection of our Great Barrier Reef by minimising coastal development which can lead to a loss of habitat and decline in water quality.
"Consultation with the community is a key part of the process and helps determine the level of public support, and I welcome submissions from all interested parties," Dr Miles said.
Minister for Police and Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne encouraged people to have their say on a plan to create declared Fish Habitat Areas in the Leekes Creek area at Great Keppel Island, and to extend the current declared Fish Habitat Area in the Fitzroy River to include Balaclava Island and surrounding wetlands.
"Expansion of the Fitzroy River declared Fish Habitat Area is a key Queensland Government commitment in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to protect the Fitzroy delta," Mr Byrne said.
"We recognised the Fitzroy River, largest river system on the East Coast of Queensland, as a Fish Habitat Area in 2008. It supports one of the most significant mud crab fishing areas on the east coast of Queensland."
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the Central Queensland community and all interested stakeholders had been invited to provide feedback on the proposal to include the new habitats.
"These areas will protect juvenile and adult fish habitats whilst maintaining our recreational, commercial and indigenous fisheries," Mrs Lauga said.
"This will protect not only a popular tourism spot but a culturally significant area to the Woppaburra people. In fact, Woppaburra representatives helped to assess the Leekes Creek area for the FHA proposal."
This is the second and final round of consultation-the original area of interest plans have been amended based on stakeholder feedback from the first round of consultation.
The Government will consider all submissions before making a final decision.
For more information visit www.npsr.qld.gov.au ( http://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/ ) or phone 07 4936 0156.