Lo­cals set to cham­pion marine ad­vi­sory board

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

DOU­GLAS res­i­dents have be­come cham­pi­ons of the Great Bar­rier Reef with a new marine ad­vi­sory board elected to en­sure it stays in pris­tine con­di­tion.

Whyan­beel res­i­dent Robert Hanan was elected chair­man of the Dou­glas Lo­cal Marine Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee last week for the next three-year term of the newly elected com­mit­tee.

Mr Hanan, a well-known ad­vo­cate on many is­sues, in­clud­ing the Friends of Dou­glas Shire, wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity for the Dou­glas re­gion to be heard on mat­ters con­cern­ing the health of the reef.

“The Great Bar­rier Reef holds cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance to many peo­ple in our community and its health is crit­i­cal to peo­ple’s liveli­hoods in the Dou­glas re­gion,” Mr Hanan said.

“That is why it’s cru­cial for us to be able to share our lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ences and con­cerns on how the reef is man­aged now and in the fu­ture.

“Our mem­bers bring lo­cal per­spec­tives and ex­pe­ri­ences from a va­ri­ety of backgrounds in­clud­ing tourism, con­ser­va­tion, farm­ing, fish­ing and gov­ern­ment.

“How­ever, we would wel­come ad­di­tional in­put from tra­di­tional own­ers and the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try to en­sure all lo­cal in­ter­ests are met.”

Miallo cane and co­coa grower Ger­ard Puglisi, who has also been elected to the com­mit­tee, said it would of­fer a good in­sight into the reef and how agri­cul­ture and in­dus­try can play its part.

“It is in all of our in­ter­ests to make sure the health of the reef is main­tained and cared for as best as we pos­si­bly can,” Mr Puglisi said.

“Be­ing on this com­mit­tee will give us from the agri­cul­tural and in­dus­try’s point of view an in­sight into what changes con­cern­ing the reef take place from time to time and al­low us in­put to ad­dress any is­sues con­cern­ing the reef.”

Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Author­ity chair­man Rus­sell Re­ichelt said the com­mit­tee would play an es­sen­tial role in the fu­ture man­age­ment of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“We will be look­ing to our com­mit­tees for ad­vice on how we achieve a bal­ance be­tween sus­tain­able use and pro­tect­ing the reef for the fu­ture,” he said.

“They will con­trib­ute to the strate­gic as­sess­ment of the Great Bar­rier Reef World Her­itage Area that will iden­tify the reef’s val­ues, the threats and what we need to do to ad­dress them when they ap­pear.”

The Dou­glas LMAC area cov­ers the Bloom­field River in the north to Buchan Point in the south.

The next meet­ing of LMAC will be on Septem­ber 11.

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