North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) has welcomed a new paper on sediment impacts on coral saying it made a positive contribution to scientific knowledge.
NQBP said that it was important to note that the study examined sediment impacts associated with dredging operations that occurred either on or within very close proximity (less than 8kms) to coral reefs off Barrow Island in Western Australia.
NQBP’s Senior Manager Environment, Kevin Kane, said the study will add to the scientific knowledge of the dynamics of coral reef environments and this should be welcomed by everyone.
“However, while the study contains important findings on sediment impacts on corals, it cannot and should not be used as a basis to make criticisms of past or planned dredging operations in ports within or adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, such as Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Abbot Point or Hay Point.
“The dredging operations in these ports occur many kilometers from the nearest coral reefs, unlike the close proximity of the coral reef which is the subject of this study.
“The outcomes of the study support proper management and monitoring regimes for dredging programs, which is a philosophy that NQBP and the Queensland Port Industry support and indeed lead.
“The researchers acknowledge the importance of ports to the livelihood of billions of people around the world and that ports need to be well-managed. A demonstration of our commitment is we have maintained accreditation of an Environmental Management System developed to comply with AS/ISO 14001:2004.
“NQBP is continuing to work closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on dredge programs to ensure impacts are avoided or mitigated,” said Mr Kane.
Press Release, July 18, 2014; Image: usgs.gov