An application from the Australian Power Boat Association Offshore Council (APBAOC) has been submitted to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) for a high speed power boat race to be held within Moreton Bay Marine Park. The race of approximately 25-30 boats is to be held offshore from Redcliffe and within close proximity to Scotts Point a marine national park zone (green zone). Doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Here is your chance to have your say – make a submission to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service by 5pm 16 August 2010.
This matter has also been referred to the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) due to the potential impact on matters of national environmental significance and is now open for comment until 5pm August 12th.
Remember when make comment to DEWHA you must follow their guidelines.
This race has been held annually since September 2007 and is part of the Redcliffe First Settlement Festival. This year the race is to be held on Saturday 18 September between 1:45pm and 3:15pm and Sunday 19 September between 10:45am and 12:30pm. You can view the Marine Permit Application at the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Office 34 Trafalgar Street Manly Queensland.
What are the potential threats?
Wildlife Queensland is strongly opposed to the proposed activity due to:
- The proposed route being within close proximity to a marine national park zone (green zone) and wetland of national and international significance (Ramsar wetlands)
- The potential to harm or disturb species of national environmental significance including dugongs, sea turtles, and coastal dolphins such as bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback which are known to use the area
- The potential to contaminate the marine park and surrounding areas of national environmental significance.
Boat strike is an obvious concern and listed species under the Environmental Protection and Conservation Act (EPBC Act) such as marine turtles, dugongs, bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins all of which frequent the proposed area are particularly susceptible. The greater the speed of the vessel, the less reaction time the animal has to avoid collision and the greater the force of impact likely to be made. This risk to wildlife is significantly increased when multiple vessels race together. Within Queensland the primary human cause of mortality in turtles is being struck by vessels and up to 50 turtles die from boat strike a year in Moreton Bay Marine Park (DERM, 2007a). The operational policy for the conservation and management of dugongs in Queensland lists boating activity as a direct threat and states that ‘High speed boat races will not be permitted within areas of State marine parks where dugongs might be adversely affected’ (DERM, 2007b). Moreton Bay Marine Park is home to around 600-800 dugongs. Wildlife Queensland recommends extensive investigation into the potential risk of boat strike to protected species.
Contamination of the marine park and areas of national environmental significance.
As with any high speed boat race there is a huge potential for collision and any collision would likely result in spilled fuel and debris significantly impacting listed species, the adjacent marine national park zone and Ramsar wetlands. Due to dispersal by winds and currents the results of any substantial spill would damage a much larger area. The State and Commonwealth Department must investigate the full potential for significant impacts on the surrounding sensitive areas.
Noise disturbances to wildlife are a particular concern and must be investigated. The ocean’s capacity to transmit sound and the central role of acoustics in the life of marine mammals makes these animals potentially vulnerable to injury and disturbance from noise (DERM, 2009a). The generators of the most damaging noises for marine mammals include shipping, speed boats, acoustic telemetric devices, equipment associated with oil exploitation, and military maneuvering (DERM, 2009a). Noise pollution is listed as a major threat to the Indo Pacific humpback dolphin commonly found around the proposed area.
Any potential threats to the environmental values of the marine park must be mitigated otherwise DERM should have no other alternative than to reject the permit application. It is important to note the following statement taken from the DERM operational policy:
High speed vessel events cannot occur without risk to wildlife and the marine environment. High speed vessel events typically involve multiple vessels, a single route, a common starting time, high acceleration and speed, and excessive noise. These inherent and unavoidable qualities make the reduction of their impacts on the marine environment very difficult. Consequently high speed vessel events are not supported in all areas and at all times in marine parks (DERM, 2009c).
What Wildlife Queensland is doing
In November 2009 Wildlife Queensland contacted DERM expressing our concerns with this event. Wildlife Queensland is currently formulating our submission to DERM regarding this APBAOC recent application. Wildlife Queensland referred this matter to the Commonwealth Government. Wildlife Queensland is submitting our concerns to both the State and Commonwealth Government.
What you can do
There are TWO opportunities to have your say - make a submission to both State and Commonwealth Governments today:
- State Government Assessment
Send your comments before 5pm August 16th to:
The Operations Manager (Marine),
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 5178, Manly 4179
- Commonwealth Government Assessment
Send your comments before 5pm August 12th to:
Referral Business Entry Point, EIA Policy Section (EPBC Act)
Approvals and Wildlife Division
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Or via email
Please let us know if you submit comments. If you need assistance with your submission please contact us.
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.