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Industry commended – above and beyond for a year to protect the Reef - Reef HQ

Industry commended – above and beyond for a year to protect the Reef

Published: 20/02/2012

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Licensed aquarium fish and coral collectors in the Keppels area are going above and beyond their industry obligation to protect the Great Barrier Reef by continuing to suspend collecting in the area until 30 April 2012.

The extension of the voluntary suspension will see local collectors continuing their action for almost a year with the first industry-led initiative commencing in response to last year's flooding impacts on the Reef.

Commending their actions, Randall Owens Sustainable Fishing Manager with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said it illustrated the industry's commitment to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and its biodiversity.

"Reducing other pressures is the best way to help coral reefs recover after stressful events like major floods," he said.

"Collectors have taken the unanimous decision to voluntarily extend the agreement to suspend collecting flood affected parts of Keppel Bay while reef health assessments are undertaken.

"This is a great result and continues to be a credit to industry and their demonstrated willingness to act positively and decisively under the terms of their Stewardship Action Plan.

"The outstanding stewardship action from this industry group shows they're proactively committed to partnering with management agencies and scientists to help build the resilience of the Reef.

"Their actions will also translate into long-term benefits for their business with the area likely to recover more rapidly in response to the voluntary suspension."

The agreement is a collaborative arrangement between Pro-vision Reef, the aquarium supply industry association representing the operators, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Fisheries Queensland.

Pro-vision Reef president Lyle Squire Jnr. said the extension would allow further surveys to be carried out and would assist with the industry's long-term sustainability in the region.

"The extension of the agreement in the Keppels is based on observation of reef condition and a desire to contribute to reef recovery after last year's flooding," Mr Squire said.

"Local collectors will also be able to undertake further surveys in collaboration with officers from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service as part of a collaborative approach to ensure all decision making is based on credible information.”

Dr Brigid Kerrigan from Fisheries Queensland said that the management response emerged from a taskforce formed under the Coral Stress Response Plan.

“Commercial fishing, including aquarium fish and coral collecting, is a key sector that is vulnerable to climatic events due to impact on fishing grounds or fish stocks,” Dr Kerrigan said.

“If we are to ensure sustainable and viable commercial fishing in Queensland, it’s essential that we continue to monitor impacts and take action following future natural disasters.”

 


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