Property Owner Fined $5000 Over Mangrove Clearing

A MOUNTAIN Creek man has been fined $5000 in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court after being found guilty of removing about 20sq m of mangroves in front of his property.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Russell Overton said information received from the public led to the discovery of the mangrove clearing offence. “Acting on information, officers discovered a large trench through the mangrove root systems had been dug out in front of his property in order to build a private jetty,” Mr Overton said.

“A trunk was all that remained from one large mangrove and three smaller trees showed signs of significant damage caused from pruning.

“Incidentally, about a year ago QBFP officers had spoken to the man on the legalities surrounding the protection and management of marine plants.” Mr Overton said the fine handed down by the magistrate reflects the seriousness of the offence and should make people think twice about damaging protected habitat areas.

“Cutting down or destroying marine plants on Queensland shores is illegal and incredibly destructive to Queensland’s fisheries resources,” he said.

“Any loss of mangroves like these will have a flow-on effect to the fish and crab populations they support.” QBFP at Mooloolaba has noted a significant increase in unlawful damage to marine plants and development works undertaken in fish habitat areas.

MR_Mangrove-clearing-Mooloolaba_1
Photo: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
MR_Mangrove-clearing-Mooloolaba_2
Photo: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

“This is increasingly becoming a problem and clearly people are unaware of the mangroves’ value to the local environment,” Mr Overton said. Disturbances to marine plants, however minor, have a cumulative effect that can lead to a long-term decline in local fish production and general aquatic health. Even hedging can change the productivity of the mangroves and reduce the number of animals that live beneath the canopy due to excessive shading.

Damaging marine plants can carry a maximum penalty of $341,550. The Fisheries Act 1994 protects all marine plants in Queensland including mangroves, seagrass, salt couch and in specific circumstances melaleuca and hibiscus species, regardless of whether marine plants are on private, leasehold or public lands, or alive or dead. Residents are encouraged to help protect marine plants and report any damage to the 24-hour, toll-free Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

For more information on mangroves, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores. You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).

 

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