Activists bid to ban dredging on the Great Barrier Reef

A GROUP of six activist groups claiming to represent more than one million people has written to the key Great Barrier Reef regulator in an effort to have a dredging campaign rejected.

The dredging will take 3 million cubic metres of spoil from near the Abbot Point coal port in Central Queensland, shifting it to within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Area.

It will allow the expansion of the coal port by the state-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports.

The letter to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was co-signed by the chief executives from WWF-Australia, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Get Up!, and the Humane Society International-Australia.

WWF-Australia chief Dermot O'Gorman said the reef ought to be protected, not treated as a dump.

"The world's best reef deserves the world's best protection and we want a total ban on the dumping of dredge spoil in reef waters," he said.

A 27-year study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science found in late 2012 that the biggest threats to the reef were storm damage and crown-of-thorns starfish, despite major dredging campaigns occurring along the coastline.

GBRMPA must decide whether to allow the dredging by January 31.