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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 565

Mr Humphreys asked the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 17 April 1980:

(1)   Has a plan been formulated proposing zoning for the Capricornia section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; if so, on what basis were zoning boundaries within the zoned Capricornia section drawn.

(2)   Do the Marine Park Authority Zoning Plan and the zones determined under it apply right up to low water mark around the islands within the Capricornia section, or does it apply from the low water mark around the drying reefs that surround the islands.

(3)   Which islands are under Commonwealth jurisdiction within the Capricornia section.

(4)   How are these islands zoned and planned.

(5)   Will the numbers of boats in the Capricornia section be regulated if boating licences are not specifically endorsed for use in the section; if so, how.

(6)   Does the plan make specific provision for a defined shipping lane; if not, why not.

(7)   Does the Government intend to take any steps to prevent the impingement of Japanese long-line fishing in the General Use Zone A section of the Great Barrier Reef Region; if so, what steps will be taken.

Mr Thomson - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes. The zoning plan has been developed so as to provide for maximum public enjoyment of the Reef, with a minimum of restrictions, consistent with maintaining the natural qualities of the Reef. I expect to table the zoning plan during the current session of Parliament.

(2)   The zoning plan and the zones determined under it will apply right up to low water mark around those islands which are part of Queensland and are not owned by the Commonwealth. Reefs that do not form a continuous part of the island at low water mark will be covered by the zoning plan.

(3)   Lady Elliott and North Reef Islands are the only islands within the outer edge of the Section which form part of the Marine Park.

(4)   (5) and (6) I refer the honourable member to the zoning plan.

(7)   The present situation regarding the operation of Japanese long-liners within the Capricornia Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was given on page 3 159 of the House of Representatives Hansard of 22 May 1980 in answer to Question No. 5347 from Mr Cohen.

On June 5 the Government announced the closure of waters between 12° and 19° within the Great Barrier Reef Region to all long-line fishing. With regard to Japanese longline fishing this provision will apply after the present Subsidiary Tuna Long-lining Agreement with Japan expires on 31 October 1980.

The question of continued Japanese access to the remainder of the Great Barrier Reef Region after the expiry of the current arrangements on 31 October 1980 is one of the subjects under consideration during the current negotiations on a new Subsidiary Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan concerning Japanese Tuna Long-line Fishing.

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