A radical plan to enlist satellites in the fight against pollution and toxic fireweed in Moreton Bay is in doubt after Federal Government cutbacks. The cuts would also make it more difficult to monitor any environmental impact from developments such as the Sun Aqua fish farm proposed for the eastern reaches of the Bay.
Research has shown satellites such as Landsat-7 and Europe’s Envisat can accurately track blooms of lyngbya, or toxic fireweed, as well as traces of mud and algae. Satellite tracking promised to be cheaper than manual testing of seawater from boats and it covered the entire bay, while boat surveys missed 99 per cent.
Despite the breakthroughs by the Coastal Co-operative Research Centre, its federal funding was stopped in the latest round of CRC applications. Coastal CRC chief executive Rob Fearon said that the funding cut also affected a separate program to map shallow coastal waters. It used sophisticated sonar dubbed the Sea Bat and other technology to work out what was on the bottom.