Con­cern ma­rina will harm

Southern Telegraph - - News - Clare Ne­gus

The shel­tered and sandy nearshore seagrass mead­ows of Man­gles Bay are con­sid­ered by sci­en­tists and the Depart­ment of Fish­eries to be a fish nurs­ery of Statewide sig­nif­i­cance.

Species such as king ge­orge whit­ing, yel­lowfin and western trum­peter whit­ing, tarwhine and sea mul­let, as well as crabs, oc­to­pus, squid and other species shel­ter and feed in the bay’s seagrass.

The WA Fish­ing Industry Coun­cil last week warned con­struc­tion of the Man­gles Bay Ma­rina would likely de­stroy this cru­cial seagrass habi­tat, putting fish and crab stocks at risk.

The ma­rina pro­posal, a joint ven­ture be­tween Cedar Woods and Land­Corp, has been ap­proved by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and State and Fed­eral min­is­ters and has now gone to the City of Rock­ing­ham for lo­cal gov­ern­ment ap­provals.

Cedar Woods State man­ager Ben Rosser said the ma­rina pro­posal was en­ter­ing the re­fined plan­ning phase to re­zone the land and as­sess the de­vel­op­ment plan.

“The de­vel­op­ment plan is a cul­mi­na­tion of many years work with in­put from the com­mu­nity, and in­cludes a wide range of ben­e­fits giv­ing lo­cals and vis­i­tors im­proved recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties that make the most of this un­der­utilised area,” he said.

Com­pared to the broader Cock­burn Sound area, Man­gles Bay is con­sid­ered to have high fish di­ver­sity and abun­dance and acts as a source for fish­eries lo­cated far be­yond its im­me­di­ate area.

About 80 per cent of Cock­burn Sound’s seagrass has been lost to coastal de­vel­op­ment and an­other 5ha or more is ex­pected to be lost in the con­struc­tion of the ma­rina.

WAFIC chief ex­ec­u­tive John Harrison said fish­ers were con­cerned about po­ten­tial dam­age to their industry.

“De­spite en­vi­ron­men­tal

ap- proval con­di­tions re­quir­ing ap­pro­pri­ate mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures to pro­tect ex­ist­ing seagrass mead­ows, WAFIC is not at all con­fi­dent this will pro­tect fish and crab stocks,”

Pic­ture: Michael Parr Pic­ture: Of­fice of Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren

Man­gles Bay, off Cape Peron, the site of a pro­posed ma­rina and as­so­ci­ated hous­ing and tourism de­vel­op­ment. INSET: A ju­ve­nile king ge­orge whit­ing from Man­gles Bay.

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