Saturday, April 7th, 2012 - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Increased monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is set to enable marine park managers to have a greater understanding of how coastal development affects the health of the Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said the initiative would commence with monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park adjacent to Gladstone Port.

"We welcome the proposal by Gladstone Ports Corporation to support additional monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park," he said.

"We are concerned about the impact of declining water quality and coastal development. Comprehensive monitoring in the Marine Park is essential to inform good management decisions.

"GBRMPA already coordinates a robust monitoring program throughout the Marine Park. It is undertaken by independent scientists from universities and research institutes, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), James Cook University and CSIRO.

"We have been meeting with a number of Queensland ports to determine how their monitoring of port areas can be combined with current monitoring in the Marine Park.

"The aim is to get a complete picture of the Reef's health and the impacts of coastal development."

The new monitoring will not include Gladstone harbour but will cover the adjacent Marine Park.

The Queensland Government will continue to be responsible for monitoring spoil, dredging activities and fish disease in Gladstone harbour.

The Port of Gladstone has proposed providing $700,000 funding towards monitoring, then an additional $400,000 over two years.

In addition to assessing water quality adjacent to the Port, the information from this monitoring will feed into the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, and the plan's annual report card that provides an assessment of reef health.

Reef Plan is a joint Australian and Queensland Government initiative that seeks to improve the quality of water entering the Marine Park from the adjacent catchment.

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