Rough seas for tourism as reef damage hits

TOURISM operators in Gladstone are continuing to suffer because of damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

The peak industry body for marine tourism within the world's largest coral reef has welcomed a Senate report that recommends that no further approvals should be given for the disposal of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef.

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators executive director Col McKenzie said any disposal of spill should be on land.

He said the health of the reef was vitally important to Gladstone tourist operators and said local dredging operations were also causing harm.

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"The reputation of Gladstone for tourism has suffered drastically since dredging operations started, with all the negative publicity and fish disease," he said.

Mr McKenzie slammed Gladstone harbour dredging as a basket case.

"Dredging is the straw that broke the camel's back. Marine operators in Gladstone must be crying themselves to sleep," he said.

A Gladstone Ports Corporation spokesperson said the entity acknowledged the release of the Senate report into the management of the Great Barrier Reef.

"GPC is committed to working alongside the Federal and State Governments to ensure future development projects are managed according to the conditions set by the regulatory bodies," they said.

"The Port of Gladstone lies within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

"GPC has approval to dispose of dredge material at an offshore disposal site, which is within port limits and outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"GPC has never disposed of dredge material in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park."

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