Dr Ian Poiner.
Dr Ian Poiner. Contributed

Former Gladstone man confirmed as chair of reef body

A FORMER Gladstone resident who once investigated harbour fish health has been chosen to chair the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price announced this week that Dr Ian Poiner is now the chair of the agency responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef.

The marine scientist is best known in Gladstone for his work as the first chair of the science panel for Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership from 2012-16.

That initiativewas officially launched in November 2013 and releases annual reports on the harbour's health.

Dr Poiner also led the Gladstone Harbour Fish Health Scientific Advisory Panel that released a report on Gladstone's fish disease outbreak in 2011. The January 2012 report found no definitive answers as to what caused the outbreak and found there was no clear evidence of a causal link between water quality and fish ill-health.

An eco-tourism vessel on the Great Barrier Reef
An eco-tourism vessel on the Great Barrier Reef

Dr Poiner replaces the GBRMPA chair of 11 years Dr Russell Reichelt who retired recently.

"The Marine Park Authority plays an important role in ensuring one of the world's greatest natural treasures is protected by managing the delicate balance between conservation and sustainable use," Dr Poiner said.

He was particularly interested in how threats are impacting the reef and what can be done to improve its resilience.

The board is responsible the management of the Marine Park, including guidance on policy but does not decide how the authority spends its funds.