Declared fish habitat areas

Local declared fish habitat area disturbance

Have unauthorised works recently been performed in declared fish habitat areas (FHAs) in your area? Can you help prevent further damage?

Declared FHAs protect the key fish habitats that are vital for local fish populations and the sustainability of our fish stocks. For this reason they are areas protected under the Fisheries Act 1994.

You can look after declared FHAs

You can help by valuing and looking after your local declared FHAs. The long-term benefits of protecting these critical fish habitats depend on ongoing community support.

If you observe any potentially unauthorised works within declared FHAs, including someone removing marine plants or reclaiming tidal land, please report it to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.

Declared FHAs are protected

All habitats within a declared FHA – including marine plants like mangroves and saltmarshes, sand flats, river banks and rocky shores – are protected. Only limited development is allowed, mostly for public purposes. Private development is restricted.

Community use, including boating and legal fishing, is allowed.

Accepted development requirements apply to certain works in declared FHAs.

Unacceptable disturbances to declared FHAs includes undertaking unauthorised development and:

  • dumping rubbish and waste on tidal lands
  • vehicle 'hooning' on salt pans
  • reclaiming tidal lands with soil or other material, e.g. to extend lawns or gardens
  • increasing the size of an existing structure without authorisation
  • burning, cutting or mowing salt couch or mangroves
  • spraying marine plants with herbicide

The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol can issue on-the-spot fines for unauthorised works in a declared FHA and significant penalties may apply in serious cases that are taken to court.

What are you allowed to do?

ANY structure placed in a declared FHA – including jetties, pontoons, ramps, moorings, revetments - requires prior authorisation.

You need to obtain a resource allocation authority and a development approval or must demonstrate compliance with accepted development requirements.

This process ensures that impacts on local fish populations, fish catches and general aquatic health can be assessed and, if authorisation is granted, minimised.

Further information

The latest declared FHA information, including plans of each area and requirements for works, is available via the Department of Environment and Science or call 13 74 68 (13 QGOV).