Fishermen in Boondock have had a tough go of it.
Photo: Simon SchluterThe Gold Coast’s Boondocker region has long been regarded as the epicentre of Australia’s “lost” and “undiscovered” fisheries.
Now, after years of hard work by fishermen on the Great Barrier Reef, the region is experiencing a turnaround.
In the 1980s, the waters of the Great Australian Bight were the epicenter of a global wave of illegal and unregulated fishing, which has devastated the region’s biodiversity.
Since then, conservationists and conservationists in the region have battled for better protections.
In 2012, the federal Government announced it would invest $10 million in a pilot project to protect endangered reef fish and reefs.
The plan was designed to help restore fisheries through the use of baits and nets.
But since then, there has been little progress in terms of securing better protections and the program has only just started.
While the project is still in its early stages, conservation groups are hoping to secure a new pilot project in the Boondocking Waters, which is a remote region of the country that has only recently been identified as a prime habitat for endangered species.
Dr Brian Molloy from the University of New South Wales’ School of Environmental Science and Technology said the region was currently at risk.
“If you look at the Great Boondack Bight, there’s not that much biodiversity,” he said.
“The reef is pretty much destroyed.
So what we’re trying to do is build a reef habitat that can protect that biodiversity.”
It’s a really difficult thing to do because it’s a highly remote area, it’s pretty much a desert.
“You can’t see it from the air and you have no way of knowing where the reefs are.”
And what we’ve found is the reefs have been in a really poor state for a long time.
“Dr Molloya said there were several different species of reef that were threatened by fishing.”
There are the coral reefs, there are the reef sharks, there is the black and white fish, there have been a few species of fish that are endangered,” he explained.”
We’ve had some really successful programs in the past that have been trying to help these species and there’s been a lot of work that has gone into that.
“But we’ve also had some of these species that are protected under the Conservation of Torres Strait Islanders Act that we haven’t really had a chance to really help because they’ve not been protected as protected species.”
What we’ve really tried to do, and I’m a big fan of conservation science, is try and get a bit of that through to the population as well.
“Dr Niamh O’Sullivan, the manager of the Booyock Waters Fishery Commission, said while the program had a lot going for it, there were still some issues that needed to be worked out.”
She said while she was optimistic the project would be successful, it would not be a permanent solution.””
I think there’s a lack of recognition of the fact that we’re also dealing with a very important, important habitat.”
She said while she was optimistic the project would be successful, it would not be a permanent solution.
“In a year or so, I think we’ll probably be able to get to a place where there’s something that can be done in the short term,” she concluded.
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