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This press release was received from Simon Baltais of the Queensland Conservation Council on Friday 11th February 2005.

Fish Farms in Great Sandy Marine Park?

Queensland Conservation Council - Friday 11th February 2005

A State government zoning plan of the proposed Great Sandy Marine Park, leaves the door open for Fish Farms inside the proposed marine Park.

It appears the zoning plan has left the door open for Fish Farms. This is astonishing, given the pain the State Government put the community and themselves through with the proposed fish farm for Moreton Bay, said Simon Baltais, spokesperson for the Queensland Conservation Council

The Strategy for declaration and zoning of the proposed Great Sandy Marine Park, Northern Section:

- enables marine-based aquaculture operation including those that involve the addition of feed to occur in general use zones, with a permit;

- enables marine-based aquaculture operations that do not involve the addition of feed to occur in habitat protection and conservation park zones, with a permit;

Fish Farms have been seen around the world to be a major contributor to a range of major environmental problems such as excess nutrients, parasites, fish escapes, wildlife interaction problems and disease. This industry puts tourism and current commercial fishing operations at risk.

Fish Farms are not the type of industry you place in, or adjacent to, a Marine Park, said Mr Baltais.

It is of great concern that they have proceeded with Scallop Ranching in the same region, failing to release the science to QCC and an alliance of industry and environmental groups to prove this sector of marine based aquaculture is sustainable. Until that proof is available, fish farming, cannot be considered as a sustainable industry.

The strategy also statesÉthe declaration of the Great Sandy MP zoning plan is unlikely to directly address the broad issues associated with water quality management.

"Clearly if the zoning plan can't address water quality it is already a very weak legal document and unlikely to be able to manage any form of fish farm."

The State Government has now been put on notice, prohibit fish farms in the Great Sandy Marine Park or face the same community onslaught. said Simon Baltais

More Information: Simon Baltais 0412 075 334

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