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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp, MP
Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Rural Communities
10 May 2002
The completion of a nine-year project to map the wetlands along Queensland's entire coastline has offered further assurance for the ecological sustainability of the State's wetland communities and the fisheries they support.
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Rural Communities, Henry Palaszczuk, said the project is one of the most ambitious wetland mapping programs in Australia in terms of area covered.
"This project is consistent with the objectives of Australia's Oceans Policy, which sets a world-leading framework for ensuring the long-term health of Australia's oceans by sustainably managing the use and conservation of marine resources," Dr Kemp said.
"Coastal wetlands act as fish nurseries and contain a rich array of wildlife. Many fish and crustacean species spend part of their lifecycle in these wetlands, including mud crabs, banana prawns, barramundi, threadfins, whiting, flathead, bream and mullet.
"The Commonwealth has committed over $340,000 towards this project, through the Natural Heritage Trust Coast and Clean Seas program, Environment Australia's Marine Protected Areas Program, Ocean Rescue 2000 and the Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy.
"The conservation of coastal wetlands is essential to the maintenance of coastal fisheries productivity in Queensland. This project does more than just benefit Queensland fisheries; it will assist other Commonwealth and State Government agencies, local government, and researchers in planning coastal and natural resource management activities.
"The mapping recently contributed to the declaration of the Baffle Creek and Burdekin Fish Habitat Areas as Marine Protected Areas. A number of additional Marine Protected Areas have been proposed to protect important coastal habitats identified through the mapping," Dr Kemp said.
Mr Palaszczuk said the Queensland Department of Primary Industries would use the information to ensure that all coastal wetland habitat types are adequately represented in Fish Habitat Areas.
"The project has provided important information for improved management and protection of fish habitats in Queensland and is a baseline for monitoring future changes. The project also provides information to contribute to the assessment of core environmental indicators for State of the Environment reporting," he said.
"The mapping technique for the project, which relied on satellite technology, was developed by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and has been endorsed as a national standard for wetland mapping.
Mr Palaszczuk said mapping the 13,000 km coastline required the use of pictures acquired from satellites 700 km above the Earth's surface.
"Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the parts of the coast, field work involved the use of a wide range of transportation modes including helicopter, boat, four-wheel drive and an amphibious vehicle," he said.
"Mapping from the project can be viewed on the Internet at DPI's Queensland Fisheries Services interactive website, the Coastal Habitat Resources Information System (CHRIS) (http://chrisweb.dpi.qld.gov.au/chris).
"A series of project reports documenting the mangrove resources statewide is also available through the website.
"Researchers in Queensland are currently collaborating with the Northern Territory fisheries scientists to map coastal wetlands throughout northern Australia as part of a project to assess mud crab abundance," Mr Palaszczuk said.
Minister Palaszczuk and the Federal Member for Petrie, Teresa Gambaro, representing Dr Kemp, today launched the results of the Coastal Wetlands Mapping Project at the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane.
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Kirby Anderson (Mr Palaszczuk's office) 0418 197 350