Marine plants

Local marine plant destruction

Have you become aware of recent destruction/damage to protected marine plants in your area? Can you help prevent further damage?

Marine plants support local fish populations, fish catches and general aquatic health, and for this reason they are protected under the Fisheries Act 1994.

Marine plants help support commercial, recreational and indigenous fisheries and the health of our waterways and marine areas. The majority of fish species caught in coastal areas depend on marine plants at some stage of their life cycle.

You can look after fish habitats

You can help by valuing and looking after your local fish habitats. The long-term benefits of protecting marine plants depend on ongoing community support. If you observe any destruction of marine plants, including someone removing branches, please report it to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.

Marine plants are protected

All marine plants in Queensland (including mangroves, seagrass, marine algae, salt couch and samphires) are protected. The protection applies over all tenures, including privately owned land.

The removal, damage or destruction of marine plants requires authorisation through a development approval or through demonstrated compliance with accepted development requirements.

Unacceptable damage to marine plants or habitat includes undertaking unauthorised development, and:

  • marine plant removal/trimming/lopping for views/aesthetic reasons
  • spraying with herbicide
  • reclaiming tidal lands with soil or other material (e.g. to extend lawns or gardens)
  • dumping rubbish or waste on tidal lands
  • burning or mowing salt couch or mangroves.

The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol can issue on-the-spot fines for damaging marine plants and habitats, and significant penalties may apply in serious cases that are taken to court.

What are you allowed to do?

Some property maintenance or minor impacts works requiring the removal, damage or destruction of marine plants may be undertaken in compliance with accepted development requirements.

Any other destruction/damage of marine plants and habitat, not covered by accepted development requirements, is regarded as assessable development and will require a development approval from the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning – call 13 74 68 (13 QGOV). This process ensures that impacts on local fish populations, fish catches and general aquatic health can be assessed and, if authorisation is granted, minimised.