Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paradise Lost? Fishers; Divers at odds on reef damage

Paradise Lost? Fishers; Divers at odds on reef damage


Conflicting views about damage to the Great Barrier Reef caused by recent category five cyclone Hamish has involved both state and federal government, commercial fishing and recreational diving industries.

The Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) says the reef suffered significant damage from Cyclone Hamish and wants the Queensland Government to declare a natural disaster over the southern part of the reef so QSIA members can be compensated for the loss of fish stock caused by cyclone Hamish.

However, dive operators in the Whitsundays say attaching the term 'disaster zone' to the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef will give tourists the wrong impression.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is keeping a close eye on conditions.

"The reef is our most important national and international coral reef system and it's a treasure of Australia's which requires us to have the most exacting and absolutely comprehensive protection," he said.

Mr Garrett says he has not received a formal proposal, but he is monitoring the situation.

Whitsunday Charter Boat Association representative Greg Lambert says dive operators in his group have not seen any significant damage.

He says using the term 'disaster' would be wrong.

"You can imagine if you're a tourist wanting to come from overseas and dive the Great Barrier Reef and you read in the media that it's been destroyed, declared a national disaster area, you're not going to come," he said.

QSIA spokesman Neil Green said after speaking to State Government ministers, he was confident the disaster zone would be declared.

"Half the reef has been completely overturned from Bowen South. It'll affect tourism, it'll affect certainly commercial fishers - about 50 per cent or 300 jobs are at risk with 30 guys put off yesterday," Mr Green told ABC radio.

"There's just nothing left out there to fish on."

"We've had our boats out there working this week for the first time after the cyclone and people with 20 years experience can't recognise the damage being done," Mr Green said.

"Their catches where they'd catch 150 fish a day have been down to five fish a day."

Any decision to declare the reef a disaster area would be a first, according to the Department of Primary Industries.

However, the tourism industry is wary of such any association between the "disaster area" and the Great Barrier Reef.

"It would be very unhelpful for the tourism operators up and down the coast," The Queensland Tourism Industry Council's Daniel Gschwind said,

"We're very keen to make sure that the public is not driven into believing that it's no longer worth going to see the reef," he said.

Local diving operator Mike Daley of Whitsunday Dive Adventures this week said while some coral suffered damage, it was mainly soft branching corals that were more easily damaged but were also faster growing.

"No. The reef isn't destroyed. The reef has a wonderful ability to be sustainable. That's not to say it isn't under pressure. However for inner reefs siltation from onshore construction runoff has been more of a problem."


Mystical attraction


"There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends"


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Monday, March 09, 2009

New fishing rules apply from this week

New fishing rules apply from this week

Significant changes to regulations affecting commercial and recreational
fishers throughout Queensland came into effect this week.
The changes include new bag and size limits for popular species like bream,
whiting, tailor, and flathead.
The changed size, take and possession limits for both fresh and tidal waters
are effective from March 1.
Anglers do not require a licence to fish recreationally in Queensland,
except if fishing in some stocked impoundments such as at Peter Faust Dam.
The 2009 coral reef fin fish closures, scheduled for later in the year are
under currently under review.
Full details Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries

P&O Arcadia memories

Item last week brought some memories sparked by the fourth P&O Arcadia, the
largest P&O Cruises ship ever to visit Australia as part of her debut world
Thousands immigrated to Australia on P&O Cruises' second Arcadia as
'ten-pound Poms' in the 1950s and '60s.
A mate, Meecham Philpot 4MK Radio presenter told Waterfront that his mom and
dad met onboard the second Arcadia in the early 1960s.
"And last week we were at lunch in Brisbane while Arcadia was alongside"
Meech added.
There have been several other memories related, do you have one?

Barrier Reef Island Park News

The recent sighting of a crocodile at Langford Lagoon prompts a reminder to
be croc wise in the Whitsundays. Crocodiles can occur around offshore
islands and are potentially dangerous. Be Croc wise - Never approach,
provoke or interfere with a crocodile. Report crocodile sightings to the EPA
on 1300 130 372.

Whitehaven awarded - Whitsunday Regional Council and EPA received the Keep
Australia Beautiful, Queensland's cleanest beach award for Whitehaven Beach.
Everyone is encouraged to keep up the great work, with judging for the
national title this year.

Walking track maintenance - Work to upgrade sections of walking tracks on
South Molle Island will continue throughout March 2009. During this time
some track closures will occur as machinery, plant and equipment are in use.

South Whitehaven Beach - construction underway to upgrade visitor facilities
including a new day-use area installed with seating and new toilet systems
for day visitors and campers, weather permitting. Visitors are reminded to
observe all signs and directions. Commercial operators are reminded by EPA
of their obligations to obey their permit conditions and not access or allow
their guests to access sites for which they are not permitted. This includes
new or 'under construction' walking tracks.

Surprise Rock beacon

Mariners are advised that the lighted isolated danger mark beacon Fl(2) 6s,
located east of Hamilton Island in approximate position latitude 20° 21.3'
S, longitude 149° 01.6' E, has been destroyed. Mariners should use caution
in the vicinity. AUS charts affected are 252, 253 & 824

Hamilton Island Marina

Mariners are advised that the Hamilton Island Marina entrance will be closed
to traffic for pipeline construction between 1045 and 1230 hours on Thursday
12 March 2009.

Rough and calm

"As we sail thru life, don't avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters
won't make a skilful sailor"

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ambassadors greet visiting cruise ships

Ambassadors greet visiting cruise ships
Last Friday passengers from P & O Oriana visiting Airlie Beach were greeted by the volunteer Ambassadors from the Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce.
Nothing new really, as the Ambassadors have been going since 2004 and some of the originals are still there welcoming passengers and seeing them off.
"The passengers leave with a positive feeling and the volunteers have fun meeting and greeting," says coordinator Judi Dunn
Today, Wednesday, P&O Aurora will be visiting on a 93-night world cruise ex Southampton so cruise ship volunteers will be enjoying meeting and greeting.
If anyone would like to join in and become a volunteer cruise ship arrivals Ambassador, give a call Judi Dunn 0408 285 915
One we missed
Arcadia is the largest P&O Cruises ship ever to visit Whitsunday and indeed Australia as part of its debut world cruise.
Unfortunatly she will only transit the Whitsunday Islands enroute to Cairns.
The 83,000-tonne Bermuda flagged vessel with 1,950 passengers, evoked memories of former P&O ships to carry the same name.
Thousands immigrated to Australia on P&O Cruises' second Arcadia as 'ten-pound Poms' in the 1950s and '60s.
The modern 285-metre Arcadia is the fourth ship in the company's history to bear the name.
The second incarnation of P&O's Arcadia, launched in 1953, was central to the migration of more than a million Britons to Australia in the 1950s and 60s.
The Arcadia is one of four superliners gracing Australian waters this week, with Cunard's Queen Victoria, Diamond Princess and the giant Queen Mary 2.
Clean Up this Sunday
Ian "Stack' Hudson called to report that Rotary Club of Airlie Beach will meet at 8 am in Rotary Park next to the Whitsunday Sailing Club for registration.
"The Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, as part of its service to the local community, co-ordinates Clean Up Australia from VMR at Cannonvale through Airlie Beach to Shute Harbour, weather permitting" Stack says.
"2009 marks the 19th National Clean Up Day. Volunteers are needed to fill the provided bags and leave them on the roadside for collection by others. Participants should wear sensible shoes/boots, a hat, sunscreen and bring a pair of working gloves, although some gloves will be available."
"Since the total area is divided into 17 easily handled plots, it is envisaged that three hours will see the job done.
"Rotary will provide a free T shirt and soft drink or water to take, and when done a sausage sizzle. Also, there will be McDonalds vouchers and a drink afterwards compliments of the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Rotary looks forward to seeing as many people as possible for this annual community effort.
The group organising the area from Riordanvale Rd to Tropic Rd will meet at the Reef Gateway Hotel at 8 am and expect to finish at 11.
Organiser Jan Jarratt MP invites people to "Join us to help clean up, fix up and conserve the environment"
The Eco Barge is taking ten volunteers to clean beaches on South Molle Island and surrounding islands to pick up bags left by other volunteers on the day. Departing Whitsunday Sailing Club dinghy jetty @ 8.00 am. Register on
www.cleanup.org.au or call Libby Edge 0417 642 815 ecobargeservices@gmail.com
Over the top
A good reason for not wanting Lake Proserpine to fill and spill over the Peter Faust Dam is an evil Weed of Mass Destruction - Mimosa Pigra. Water over the dam wall might spread the seeds of this weed downstream.
Mimosa Pigra is one of the worst weeds of a number of tropical countries and is well established as the worst weed of the Top End of the Northern Territory of Australia.
The alarm has been raised locally with the discovery of this potentially devastating weed at Peter Faust Dam, the first site outside of the Northern Territory.
If it were to become established Mimosa Pigra would pose a severe threat to a number of industries and the wetland areas of the humid and sub-humid tropics.
Film critic
Watching the new film 'Australia', Mrs Cap'n Dan said, "There are too many crikeys and not enough strewths" and for your Waterfront writer the poor radio operation skills are obvious when the radio operator says 'over and out'. When will they learn?
Hesket Rock light
Mariners are advised that a lighted south cardinal mark beacon Q(6) + LFl.15s has been established in position latitude 20° 56.1893' S, longitude 149° 28.9649' E on Hesket Rock, which is about 2.5 nautical miles in an easterly direction from St Bees Island. AUS charts affected 251, 823 & 824
Your fortune read
"Many a false step was made by standing still" Common sense from a Fortune Cookie
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan