Minister must Give Directive to Stop Illegal Logging of Purple Spotted Gudgeon Habitat
The North East Forest Alliance has once again asked the Minister for Fisheries to intervene to make the Forestry Corporation comply with its Fisheries Licence and immediately stop illegal logging of headwater stream buffers in habitat of the Endangered Purple Spotted Gudgeon.
The Forestry Corporation's June logging lists state that they are currently logging buffers on headwater streams in 20 compartments that qualify as habitat of this endangered fish.
"We recognise that the Forestry Corporation have been forced to stop logging of stream buffers in 37 of the compartments that we identified two months ago, but they are continuing to log stream buffers in 5 compartments in Styx River State Forest, and have commenced logging of stream buffers in 15 additional compartments in Bril Bril, Broken Bago, Burrawan, Landsdowne, Riamukka and Chichester State Forests that constitute Purple Spotted Gudgeon habitat that weren't on their March logging lists" NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.
"It is absurd that when we identify one area where they are illegally logging that they stop there and start doing it somewhere else.
Upstream Purple Spotted Gudgeon Habitat in Gibberagee State Forest- trashed (photo Dailan Pugh)
"We have repeated our request to the Fisheries Minister, Niall Blair, to not only stop this new illegal logging, but to give a clear directive that all illegal logging of stream buffers in habitat of Purple Spotted Gudgeon must stop.
"We have now obtained a variety of documents under a freedom of information request that show that the Forestry Corporation were informed by Fisheries of the presence of Purple Spotted Gudgeon habitat in Gibberagee SF when preparing their logging plan last July but chose to ignore it when allowing the logging of stream buffers.
"This is a clear and intentional breach of their legal obligations for which they must be held to account.
"We have recently provided evidence to Fisheries of widespread illegal logging of stream buffers in Conglomerate State Forest, and they have assured us they are doing their own audits elsewhere.
"For too long Fisheries have ignored the activity of their Forestry colleagues in the Department of Industry, this time they must fulfil their responsibilities as a regulator by prosecuting the Forestry Corporation for their intentional illegal logging.
"The Forestry Corporation must be required to undertake environmental repair and provide compensatory habitat for the hundreds of kilometres of stream buffers that they have illegally logged in the past year" Mr. Pugh said.
The beautiful Purple-Spotted Gudgeon (photo Dailan Pugh)