The Queensland Government says it has signed an agreement with the sugar industry to manage chemical use and run-off into the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell says the best practice approach will reduce regulation and paperwork and move towards self-management.
He says legislation brought in by the previous state government could be changed if the new approach is successful.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is urging the public to be careful around turtle nesting habitats in north Queensland with the season underway.
GBRMPA spokesman Dr Mark Read says some have already begun coming ashore to lay eggs but numbers should peak next month.
He says baby turtles have many natural predators so it is important that humans do not add to their hardship.
About 50 protesters have gathered outside an inner Brisbane hotel to highlight their concerns about the coal industry.
Brisbane is hosting a Galilee Basin coal conference to discuss new mining ventures in the central Queensland inland.
Environmental group Greenpeace says the plan to open up the area will add to greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace says new coal export terminals to service the mines will also threaten the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The genetic make-up of corals will be studied in Australia and Saudi Arabia to understand how they may one day be able to survive climate change.
Scientists say over the past century the world's water temperatures have increased by 0.8C, leading to increased acidity and coral bleaching.
Now researchers want to understand why some species die from bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef when temperatures rise in summer, but can survive in the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, where the water is on average eight degrees hotter.
A central Queensland conservation group says there is no way a proposed coal port development south of Rockhampton could be built without damaging the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mitchell Group is due to release the environmental impact statement for its proposed Fitzroy Terminal within the next two months.
The project includes a system to transfer coal from barges onto ships with a capacity to export 22 million tonnes of coal a year.
However, Ginny Gerlach from the Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance, says it will have major consequences on the environment.
Greens leader Christine Milne has said the mining boom amounts to ''liquidating the environment'' as her party and conservation groups prepare to launch an assault on government plans to cut ''green tape''.
Ahead of today's launch of a national campaign to protect iconic sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Tarkine wilderness and the Kimberley, Senator Milne said the federal government's plans to hand more power over environmental approvals to the states would drag environmental protection back 40 years.
Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/greens-on-mission-to-save-iconic-sites-20121017-27riu.html
A sobering study released today shows more than half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef has disappeared over the past 27 years.
Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville have found the loss of coral is caused mainly by cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish.
Coral bleaching is also to blame.