The program enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to learn about and contribute to its long-term protection by being trained to collect valuable information about Reef health, marine animals and incidents.
The system has four survey tools providing data that directly informs management actions to protect the ecosystem. For example, reef assessment surveys were heavily used throughout the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events and during assessments of damage caused by severe tropical cyclone Debbie.
Tourism operators with a commitment to Reef stewardship adopt a dive site for monitoring of early warning signals and trends of change as the key part of a specific training regime for new crew joining the industry.
Schools, volunteer organisations and travel groups have access to a Rapid Monitoring method that combines key reef health elements and species into a method for citizens to provide snap-shots of reef condition anywhere.
The Eye on the Reef smartphone and desktop application are public resources that anyone can use to record sightings of protected and iconic marine animals, incidents and events. For example, the witnessing of coral spawning or the location of crown-of-thorns starfish helps the Authority to decide where to target surveying and monitoring activities.
Since all the different survey methods were combined in 2009 the Authority has:
stored around 33,000 Reef health surveys
received more than 32,000 of records of protected species and significant event sightings.
trained more than 500 people in program methods and protocols (of these 400 are tourism staff)
Contact: [email protected]
[Article – Reef Chat 3rd Edition – 16 November 2017]