Mixed reaction to marine park changes
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.