Mixed re­ac­tion to marine park changes

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times. com.au

NOT ev­ery­one is happy with the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity’s new Whit­sun­day Plan of Man­age­ment tak­ing ef­fect from yes­ter­day.

But Abell Point Ma­rina gen­eral man­ager Luke McCaul said he was sat­is­fied it “struck the right balance”.

Among many changes, the plan al­lows greater ac­cess for ves­sels larger than 35m and 21 new su­pery­acht an­chor­ages to be es­tab­lished.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Daw­son, Ge­orge Chris­tensen, who has lob­bied ex­ten­sively on the is­sue over the past two years, said he was “very pleased” with this out­come.

“One su­pery­acht spend­ing a week in port has the po­ten­tial to in­ject $50,000 into the lo­cal econ­omy and sup­port a num­ber of small busi­nesses,” he said, adding “a su­pery­acht car­ries less peo­ple and they have less im­pact on the marine park than other ves­sels which al­ready op­er­ate in reef wa­ters”.

Nonethe­less, Whit­sun­day div­ing in­struc­tor Tony Fontes said he was “dis­ap­pointed”.

“The marine park in the Whit­sun­days is at peak use and some might sug­gest that it is over-used in terms of the num­ber of boats out there most of the time,” he said. Mr Fontes said he would have liked to have seen im­ple­men­ta­tion of the plan de­layed as GBRMPA was man­ag­ing a “new park” post-Cy­clone Deb­bie.

NEW PLAN: More su­pery­acht an­chor­ages will be es­tab­lished as a re­sult of the Whit­sun­day Plan of Man­age­ment.

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