TTNQ CEO Pip Close attended a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) briefing today on the 2019 Outlook Report for the Great Barrier Reef.
The challenges of back-to-back bleaching, cyclones and the significant pressure from climate change have resulted in a further decline in the health of the Great Barrier Reef since the 2014 Outlook Report. The outlook has moved from poor to very poor.
While the report says there are signs of recovery with the 2300km-long Great Barrier Reef continuing to support marine life, the key message is that global action, as well as excellence in reef care, is essential to halt the decline in the reef’s health.
The GBRMPA Board has issued a statement acknowledging that coral reefs are deteriorating globally and that, despite its challenges, the Great Barrier Reef remains a beautiful, vibrant, resilient, globally iconic ecosystem.
The report recognises that the Great Barrier Reef is the best managed, researched and monitored coral reef system in the world.
It acknowledges that tourism is not only a key partner in enabling people to visit and understand the reef, but tourism is part of the solution with a high standard of operators, audited programs and regular monitoring of sites.
Encouraging people to come to the Great Barrier Reef and see it for themselves will help the Reef’s health as they will be motivated to make changes in their lives that will support its long-term future.
With the vast majority of reef operators operating out of Cairns and Port Douglas where reef tourism began just on four decades ago, we are very proud of our stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.
The industry has been protecting and monitoring their “patch” of the Great Barrier Reef for many years starting with Reef Biosearch in 1986, which along with guided snorkelling, undertook reef monitoring projects for GBRMPA and James Cook University.
Involvement in research and monitoring continues and has grown under the Quicksilver Group and is now undertaken on a broader scale across the reef. Quicksilver is also trialling the use of power to speed up coral growth.
Wavelength has a research partnership with the University of Sydney to upscale coral planting through the use of a clip system with 6170 coral fragments out-planted.
Many of our region’s operators collect health data for GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef. Experience Co’s Reef Magic pontoon, Marine World, is the strongest and longest contributor having collected weekly data at the same site for more than 12 years.
With the support of GBRMPA, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Calypso Productions and Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, Reef Teach is training tourism operators to undertake georeferenced photo sections as an expanded activity for GBRMPA’s Eye on The Reef program.
The program will engage a minimum of eight local operators and provide a replicable model for other regions. This will also include trialling and implementing models for engaging guests in activities, such as internship programs and Master Reef Guide-led programs for visitors.
The Reef Restoration Foundation received Australia’s first permit for an offshore coral nursery and has successfully harvested, grown and transplanted corals at Fitzroy Island to help regenerate degraded reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef is a global icon that is treasured by the Tropical North Queensland tourism industry. As a community, we feel very privileged to be able to share the reef’s World Heritage values with the world.
30 August 2019