Marine plants and 'dead marine wood'
Fisheries legislation is in place to manage Queensland's fisheries resources. This includes the protection of marine plants. The definition of marine plant is broad, and includes plants or plant material of tidal origin or other plants on tidal land. Marine plants include mangroves, seagrass, samphires, saltcouch and saltmarsh plants, algae and other tidal plants growing adjacent to the tidal zone, landward and seaward. Material of a tidal plant relates to all parts of mangroves or other marine plants (such as bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers or seeds). Marine plant also includes "other plant" material on tidal land (such as parts of non-tidal plants). Plants that are declared pests are excluded from the definition.
Dead marine wood, including flotsam, falls within the marine plant definition as it provides material to the food chain as it breaks down, shoreline protection from wave action and habitat for marine animals, such as shipworms and gastropods.
In Queensland, all marine plants are protected and activities such as disturbance or removal of marine plants are subject to a development approval process or are required to comply with accepted development requirements.
Removal of dead marine wood from development sites for hobby or limited trade or commerce
Collecting dead marine wood for limited trade or commerce and for hobby use is permitted in accordance with accepted development requirements. Resource Allocation Authorities for collection of dead marine wood from unallocated State land for limited trade or commerce will no longer be issued from 1 January 2019.
From 1 January 2019 dead marine wood is only to be removed from plants that have been removed or destroyed under a development permit for operational work that is the removal, destruction or damage of a marine plant. Written endorsement must be obtained from the holder of the development approval prior to any removal of dead marine wood and made available on request. Some collection restrictions may apply in Marine Park zones and within declared Fish Habitat Areas. For more information see the accepted development requirements.
Public work purposes
Public work purposes may require removal or disturbance of fallen trees from tidal lands to restore safe public access and use of community infrastructure including designated access tracks and is permitted in accordance with accepted development requirements. Minor non-emergency events such as isolated storm damage may require compliance with accepted development requirements. Only trees of terrestrial origin (not mangroves) that have fallen or washed onto tidal lands due to an event, such as lightning strike, may be removed.
Local government beach cleaning activities involving removal of unattached marine plants is permitted in accordance with accepted development requirements. Some collection restrictions may apply in Marine Park zones and within declared Fish Habitat Areas.
Reporting marine plant disturbance
To report marine plant disturbance, call the 24-hour Fishwatch Hotline 1800 017 116 (toll free within Queensland).