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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Dugong Plan Ready for Release


7 November 1996
(153/96)

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has announced that a plan of management for the protection of dugong in Shoalwater Bay would be released as soon as possible for public comment.

The management plan, when it comes into force, will effectively ban all gillnetting in Shoalwater Bay.

Senator Hill indicated that the current restrictions on the use of nets in Shoalwater Bay do not go far enough.

'There has been evidence that the use of nets in Shoalwater Bay is continuing to cause dugong deaths and put at risk the sustainability of the dugong population. Accordingly, I have approved a plan which will prevent all gillnetting in the Bay.'

'The plan will ensure that Shoalwater Bay, an area of exceptional environmental significance, remains a sanctuary for these beautiful and graceful mammals.'

The draft plan has been developed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in consultation with interest groups including Aboriginal groups, the fishing industry, conservation groups and the Department of Defence (who manage much of Shoalwater Bay).

The draft plan will be released for public comment for four weeks.

Senator Hill said the finalisation of the plan will be one of a package of emergency measures which are currently being developed for the recovery and conservation of dugongs in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent waters.

The measures will be considered by Commonwealth and Queensland government ministers at a meeting at the end of November.

The Commonwealth has this year already committed over $600,000 to dugong conservation.

Media Contact - Matt Brown (Minister) (06) 277 7640 or 0419 693 515

Craig Sambell (GBRMPA) 018 180 760

Commonwealth of Australia