A biologist visiting Gladstone on Sunday says it's not possible to keep developing industry while protecting the reef.
A biologist visiting Gladstone on Sunday says it's not possible to keep developing industry while protecting the reef. Videos Downunder

We can have industry or reef, but not both, biologist says

A TOP marine biologist is visiting Gladstone and warning local authorities they need to decide between supporting industry or protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Professor Callum Roberts, from the University of York, will be in town on Sunday to meet with local conservation groups.

He said it was 27 years since he last visited, and he was not looking forward to what he would find.

"Curtis Island was formerly beautiful and untouched but the decision to develop for industry has consequences," he said.

"There's a tendency to think 'economic development at any cost', but people end up having their quality of life damaged when the environment around them is taken over by industry."

While Professor Roberts warned it was not possible to keep developing industry while protecting the reef, he said it was not too late.

"That would be wrong (to say Gladstone's already ruined), but we need to look very carefully at cumulative effects."