Businesses in Queensland’s Gympie region are preparing to take action to prevent the implementation of a marine park which will cover in excess of 13,000 km2 of water on the town’s doorstep.
Marine Queensland’s GM, Don Jones, met with concerned business owners in Tin Can Bay to brief industry on the Marine Bioregional Planning Process currently being undertaken by the Federal Government.
“The philosophy behind the implementation of these Marine Parks has changed,” said Jones.
“Initially, the process was focused on determining the activities taking place in our oceans and the impact they had. Now, the shift has moved towards establishing Marine Parks with no accurate assessment of what is actually being protected – it is a two-dimensional solution for a three-dimensional problem.”
Businesses operating in regions surrounding Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach and Gympie are uniting to prepare alternate management plans to protect the waters off their coastline without the need to close-off the entire area.
“We recognise and support the need to protect the environment and to implement sustainable fishing practices, however we also recognise that there are more sophisticated measures available to meet these objectives than simply locking people out,” said Jones.
“Central to the industry developed plan is the co-management of the unique ocean environments off the Fraser Coast between government, local communities and industry.”
Representatives at the meeting from local tourism operators fear that a marine park in the area could spell disaster for the townships of Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach.
“Fishing is what this area is all about,” said one local operator.
“If you take away the fishing spots we will lose the tourists… once we lose the tourists, we have nothing left.”
On behalf of the marine industry, Marine Queensland is calling on Government to engage with the industry and regional communities to develop truly sustainable management practices for these unique environments.