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Reef Report for Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Barrier Reef Fishery to be Reviewed by Scientific Panel

In what is likely to be good news Minister for the Environment yesterday announced that a scientific commission has been appointed to review Australiaís East Coast Fishery practices.

This fishing zone includes the Great Barrier Reef, so itís both timely and important. Recent research has indicated that the Marine Parkís policy setting aside of 30% of the Great Barrier Reef zone as off limits to both recreational and commercial fishing has been effective, with protected areas showing both increases in fish populations, and an increased resistance to outbreaks of Crown-of-Thorns Sea Stars.

Recently itís been proposed that commercial shark fishing operations be expanded on the East coast of Australia, an idea that has both marine scientists and conservationists very concerned, as shark populations on the East Coast of Australia are not thought to be close to traditional numbers, with several species having become very uncommon.

The make up of the panel seems to favor a scientific analysis of current and proposed policies, and letís hope thatís how any recommendations and decisions are made, with an aim for a sustainable fishing industry that does not compromise the health of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.

Coverage of this story, from "The Age"..

Australian government press release on this topic.

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as† many other local sources in the dive community.

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