Vandals destroy mangroves in Redlands

INVESTIGATION: An officer from the fisheries department investigates damage to mangroves at Birkdale. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

INVESTIGATION: An officer from the fisheries department investigates damage to mangroves at Birkdale. Photo: Cheryl Goodenough

REDLAND mangroves are under relentless attack from vandals, with 25 complaints of trees being cut down in fewer than 18 months.

Problems are so bad that the state government and Redland City Council have set up a special group to crackdown on the issue.

Authorities have appealed for residents to dob in the culprits, who face fines of up to $365,700.

The latest area to be targeted is Aquatic Paradise Park West, Birkdale where 10 mangroves have been cut, possibly with a hand-held power saw.

Mangroves in the same area were targeted in April but the damage was less severe.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol acting district officer Chris Watts said the illegal destruction of protected marine habitat was an ongoing problem in the Redlands.

“Since January 1, 2016, QBFP at Redlands has received 25 complaints relating to marine plant damage in the Redlands district, Logan River and Southern Moreton Bay Islands,” he said.

“Four infringement notices have been issued, including a $1219 fine for a property owner who instructed a gardener to prune mangroves.”

Mr Watts said notices were issued at Lamb Island, Russell Island, Redland Bay and on the Logan River at Carbrook.

In October, more than 100 mangrove trees were poisoned and lopped on Russell Island and in August mangroves at Wellington Point Reserve, including King Island, were cut down and marine plants in nearby wetlands showed signs of poisoning.

A council spokesperson said the nine complaints they had received of mangrove destruction since January 2016 had been referred to fisheries.

Mr Watts asked for anyone with information to phone Fishwatch on 1800 017 116.

Approval wa required for work or activities that could disturb, destroy or damage marine plants including mangroves, seagrass and saltmarsh species.

“This protection applies to all marine plants on private, leasehold and public land, regardless of whether the plants are deemed to be dead or alive.

“Mangroves and other marine plants are vital natural resources providing shelter, food and nursery areas to fish species. They are important to coastal ecosystems, support community activities such as fishing and help protect the coastline from erosion,” he said.

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