Saturday, October 08, 2005

Feeding ban...a thing of the past!

THE State Government has abandoned controversial legal action to stop dolphin feeding at Tin Can Bay.

Premier Peter Beattie told The Courier-Mail last night that the feeding of the two dolphins by the owners of a cafe at Tin Can Bay would be allowed to continue, subject to a scientific survey into impacts on the animals.

Environment Minister Desley Boyle has been under fire this week after referring the matter to the Planning and Environment Court, claiming the feeding was endangering the dolphins.
The Government's position caused an enormous public outcry.

While saying he was "still concerned about the safety of the dolphins", Mr Beattie said the feeding would be allowed following consultation with Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell.

But he said the cafe owners would be required to abide by the findings of the scientific study, and said the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) would monitor the situation closely until the study was completed.

"EPA officers will work with the cafe owners to develop strict guidelines for the feeding," Mr Beattie said.

"There should then be a further scientific study on the impact of the feeding on the dolphins at Tin Can Bay.

"And obviously if the scientific survey says there's no problem they can keep feeding them.
"On that condition, the minister will defer legal action against the owners of the cafe."
Earlier yesterday, Tin Can Bay residents opposing a massive marina and residential development said that they could not discount a link between the proposal and the State Government's proposed ban on wild dolphin feeding.

Save Our Shores Tin Can Bay co-ordinator Greg Wood said it seemed like too much of a coincidence that the proposed 250-berth Fraser Straits Marina was earmarked for the same Norman Point waters currently visited by two wild Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.
"I'm not making any accusations, but I am asking the question," he said.

Tin Can Bay harbour is owned by the Queensland Government and managed by Queensland Transport.

The marina proposal includes 250 wet berths, 240 dry storage berths, up to 300 car parking spaces, a new kiosk and marine services plus a public waterfront boardwalk and promenade.
However, a spokesman for Environment Minister Desley Boyle, who initiated the controversial court action to stop the 31-year dolphin feeding tradition now managed by Barnacles Cafe, said the marina had nothing to do with the feeding ban.

A spokesman for Fraser Straits Marina said that while a development application had been lodged and there was a requirement for environmental matters to be considered, the legalities of animal feeding were outside the project's scope.

"The marina proposal predates and will postdate the current matter regarding dolphin feeding," he said.

More than 100 people turned up at the Norman Point boat ramp yesterday to feed fish rations to dolphins Mystique and Patch in defiance of last week's directive.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"