Board Report - Meeting 245

5 April 2017 – Townsville

Overview

The Marine Park Authority Board (MPA) convened on Wednesday 5 April 2017 and approved several tourism-related policy changes needed to improve the Permission System. Members were updated on an alternative delivery model for Reef Guardians program; the impacts of coral bleaching; a review of underwater shipping noise impacts and the review of the cruise ship policy.

Reef 2050 Plan Policies

Decision MPA 245 (2017-245-10 on 05/04/2017): The Authority:

  • approved amending clause 7 of the policy on managing tourism permissions to reflect the longer term permits, specifically:
    1. In most cases, tourist program permissions will have an eight-year term. Tourist program permissions may have a 20-year term where tourist programs are appropriately certified.
  • approved changing the policy regarding whale watching activities, to:
    1. All tourist programs may conduct whale watching (whether dedicated or incidental) provided they comply with Part 4A of the Regulations; and
    2. Tourist programs may conduct whale watching (whether dedicated or incidental) in the Mackay/Capricorn Management Area, subject to other regulations.
  • approved a new policy statement regarding whale watching activities, being:
    1. The Authority is unlikely to grant cetacean exemptions for tourist vessels or aircraft, unless the applicant demonstrates that a specific visit will significantly contribute to conservation of the species.
  • approved these policy amendments to take effect at the time of implementing other changes to the permission system (current target date is 1 September 2017).

Underwater Shipping Noise Impacts in the North-East Shipping Management Plan

Decision MPA 245 (2017-245-17 on 05/04/2017): The Authority:

  • noted that Phase 1 of the ‘Development of underwater noise guidelines’ project is complete and has produced a discussion and options paper synthesising relevant underwater noise policy and science.
  • noted that this project and its outputs are strongly linked to the Reef 2050 Plan and the North-East Shipping Management Plan (NESMP).
  • noted that Phase 2 of the project is unlikely to proceed in earnest until closer to 2020 without additional resourcing.

Alternative Delivery Model for Reef Guardians Program

Decision MPA 245 (2017-245-17 on 05/04/2017): The Authority noted that an alternative delivery model for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian program is being considered.  The delivery methodology and overarching program governance arrangements will be informed by the outcomes of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority operational review.

Cruise Ship Policy Review

Decision MPA 245 (2017-245-19 on 05/04/2017): The Authority approved that draft policy be distributed for public consultation.

Members of the Authority