Article from: the Courier Mail
Brian Williams, environment reporter
August 08, 2007 12:00am
FISHERMEN and boaties have joined forces to fight a State Government proposal for green zones in Moreton Bay.
They have appointed three scientists to research how fishermen and boaties use the Bay.
It is the first time recreational and professional fishers have joined forces on such a scale.
Fishers and boating enthusiasts fear Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr will put aside about a third of the Bay after advice from an independent panel in June.
Green zones make up 0.5 per cent of the Bay.
But Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association chairman Rob Brock said there was scarce research pinpointing the areas of Moreton Bay that deserved protection despite the annual $60 million to $70million seafood harvest.
Griffith University research scientist and former Queensland Conservation Council chairman Tor Hundloe, who will work on the project, said studies were critical, given the Bay produced more seafood than any other region or town in Queensland.
Scientists will study where fish are caught, habitats, wildlife and nursery areas.
Professor Hundloe said no-go zones would be irrelevant if the Government did not address water quality issues.
"Anyone can put green zones aside," Professor Hundloe said. "But this will be meaningless if nothing is done about water quality. If water quality keeps dropping we'll have no fish anyway."
Australian Marine Conservation Society spokesman Craig Bohm
said recommendations on protected areas ranged from 20 per cent to 40 per cent.
"Queensland has the highest boat ownership in Australia and a booming population. The rezoning of Moreton Bay is an opportunity to secure our wildlife, our fish stocks and our lifestyle," Mr Bohm said.
But Moreton Bay Access Alliance chairman Bruce Alvey said fishers, boaties and seafood retailers also wanted the Bay protected.