The following is a media release from the Wildlife Preservation of Queensland
Moreton Bay - Gold Coast channel dredging must consider fisheries
Channel dredging proposed in the Gold Coast Waterways Access Needs Study will impact upon a significant area of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and its fisheries, yet the environmental impacts of this dredging are not being considered.
Simon Baltais, spokesperson for the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Bayside Branch, said that the determination of the future management of Moreton Bay Marine Park is at a critical point and the Access Needs Study must consider impacts of dredging on seagrass and other valuable fisheries habitat as well as the physical features.
“it is ironic that the Review of the Moreton Bay Marine Park Zoning Plan is taking place, yet it seems the environmental impacts of dredging, promoted by the Access Needs Study, are not even going to be considered,” said Mr. Baltais.
“We are talking about a Marine Park - we must determine the environmental impacts and how these impacts will be addressed in this study.”
Mr. Baltais said, “If you are going to dredge you will need to know what environmental values exist and how you will avoid impacting upon them. This will have a great bearing on the location of channels and depth of dredging.”
“We already know previous dredging caused major changes in tidal movement which caused a significant loss of seagrass and high levels of boating traffic is increasing turbidity, the number one killer of seagrass,” said Mr. Baltais.
According to the 1993 Study by WBM Oceanics on the Southern Moreton Bay:
“Substantial losses of seagrass occurred during and after the construction of the Gold Coast Seaway. Aerial photographs taken in 1987 show that more than 90% of the dense seagrass beds present in 1982 were lost.
“Lower low tides within the Broadwater (up to 30 cm lower) aerially exposed seagrass beds on the intertidal sand banks for longer periods and resulted in some subtidal beds becoming intertidal.” (Source: “Fluctuations in Wetland Extent in Southern Moreton Bay,” R.M. Morton, 1993 – attached.)
“Seagrass is not only essential to turtles, dugongs and other marine creatures, but to healthy fisheries and therefore important to recreational fishing, which the boating industry is dependent upon,” said Mr Baltais. “If the boating industry is concerned about their future they must consider the environmental impacts of dredging.”
Simon Baltais, Spokesperson
Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland – Bayside Branch