Queensland Govt at Odds With 'Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream' Over Great Barrier Reef Campaign

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 29, 2014 4:12 PM EST

The Queensland Government led by Environment Minister Andrew Powell has called for a boycott of all Ben and Jerry's ice cream products after the latter expressed support to the World Wildlife Fun for Nature (WWF's) campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Ben and Jerry's, seeking to draw attention to the potential damage to the reef, withdrew popular flavor Phish Food in early April because it was alluded to fish food.

"Ben and Jerry's believes that dredging and dumping in world heritage waters surrounding the marine park area will be detrimental to the reef ecology," the AAP quoted Australia brand manager Kalli Swaik. "It threatens the health of one of Australia's most iconic treasures."

In January, both the Queensland and federal governments approved the proposal of dumping three million cubic meters of dredge spoil in the marine park, also a World Heritage site, to push forward the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port.

Dredging work on the River Parrett begins at Burrowbridge, after floods caused months of disruption in the coastal region of the Somerset Levels, in southwest England March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Dredging work on the River Parrett begins at Burrowbridge, after floods caused months of disruption in the coastal region of the Somerset Levels, in southwest England March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The ice cream company said no matter how much of the spoil is expected to settle on the seabed, which the Queensland Government said is at 70 percent, intensive dredging and dumping, megaports and shipping highways all regardless, seriously risks the reef.

Animal conservation charity WWF is worried the spoil may get tied up in currents, effectively poisoning the reefs 40 kilometers away.

The Australian government is set to meet with UNESCO authorities to discuss and check the country's progress in improving the management and health of the Great Barrier Reef. By then, UNESCO will decide if the reef should be listed as a world heritage site in danger.

"Ben & Jerry's' tour is a timely reminder that the world expects the Queensland and Australian Governments to lift their game," CEO Dermot O'Gorman said.

Powell said the biggest threats to the eef are extreme weather events and from the crown of thorn star fish.

"Fortunately Queenslanders are smarter than that, Australians are smarter and UNESCO is certainly smarter and will not pander to the scare campaigns that are currently being run," he added.

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(Photo: / )
Dredging work on the River Parrett begins at Burrowbridge, after floods caused months of disruption in the coastal region of the Somerset Levels, in southwest England March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
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