Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef

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                         Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef

A world heritage listed number – 2

Where Is The Great Barrier Reef?

The marine park stretches over 3000km (1800 miles) almost parallel to the Queensland coast, from near the southern coastal town of Bundaberg, up past the northan of Cape York.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s great natural wonders. It is the largest reef in the world and consists of nearly 3000 individual reefs, 880 islands and hundreds and thousands of different types of plant, bird and marine life.

Swimming with the fish and admiring the colors of the coral is a must for any holiday to the Great Barrier Reef. Outer reef scuba diving and island day trips are some of the more common pastimes on the reef along with scenic flights and rainforest tours to Kuranda and the Daintier Rainforest.

ECOLOGY

Reefs can increase in diameter by 1 to 3 centimeters (0.39 to 1.18 in) per year, and grow vertically anywhere from 1 to 25 cm (0.39 to 9.84 in) per year; however, they grow only above a depth of 150 meters (490 ft) due to their need for sunlight, and cannot grow above sea level. From the sediment untill it is edge was too far for away for suspended sediments to inhebit

CLIMATE AND WEATHER

POLLUTION

Increased noise from more shipping traffic in the region could be having a significant effect on fish stocks and marine mammals.

Marine fisheries acoustic consultant Geoff McPherson has given a submission on the issue to a Senate inquiry into the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr McPherson admitted he was not exactly sure what the impact of shipping noise was on fish and mammals but it was something that should be examined.There is no way we can prevent shipping and that should not be the case, he said.

If we knew more of the acoustic behavior of the marine mammals and the fish on the reef … then you’d be in a better position to maybe reschedule shipping or send it through particular areas.” Mr McPherson said the published impact of excessive noise from ships on aquatic life showed communication could be disrupted.

“If you disrupt their communication it has an impact on social cohesion and reproductive biology,” he said.

McPherson recommended noise be cut by finding ways to reduce individual “ship signatures”. In his submission Mr

Minimizing the time ships spent in Great Barrier Reef waters was another of his recommendations.

Loss of coastal wetland

The runoff problem is exacerbated by the loss of coastal wetlands which act as a natural filter for toxins and help deposit sediment It is thought that the poor water quality is due to increased light and oxygen competition from algae.

Shipping

Shipping accidents are a pressing concern, as several commercial shipping routes pass through the Great Barrier Reef. Although the route through the Great Barrier Reef is not easy, reef pilots consider it safer than outside the reef in the event of mechanical failure, since a ship can sit safely while being repaired. There have been over 1,600 knownshipwrecks in the Great Barrier Reef region. On 3 April 2010, bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoals, spilling up to four tonnes of oil into the water and causing extensive damage to the reef.

The Great barrier reef management

Tourism

A scuba diver looking at a giant clam on the Great Barrier Reef

Helicopter view of the reef and boats

Due to its vast biodiversity, warm clear waters and accessibility from the tourist boats called “live aboards”, the reef is a very popular destination, especially for scuba divers. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in Cairns and also The Whitsundays due to their accessibility. These areas make up 7%–8% of the Park’s area. The Whitsundays and Cairns have their own Plans of Management. Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips. Several continental and coral cay islands are now resorts, including Green Island and Lady Elliot Island. As of 1996, 27 islands on the Great Barrier Reef supported resorts.

In 1996, most of the tourism in the region was domestically generated and the most popular visiting times were during the Australian winter. At this time, it was estimated that tourists to the Great Barrier Reef contributed A$776 million per annum. As the largest commercial activity in the region, it was estimated in 2003 that tourism generated over A$4 billion annually, and the 2005 estimate increased to A$5.1 billion. A Deloitte report published by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in March 2013 states that the Reef’s 2,000 kilometres of

coastline attracts tourism worth A$6.4 billion annually and employs more than 64,000 people.

Approximately two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year. Although most of these visits are managed in partnership with the marine tourism industry, there is a concern among the general public that tourism is harmful to the Great Barrier Reef.

A variety of boat tours and cruises are offered, from single day trips, to longer voyages. Boat sizes range from dinghies to superyachts. Glass-bottomed boats and underwater observatories are also popular, as are helicopter flights. By far, the most popular tourist

activities on the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving, for which pontoons are often used, and the area is often enclosed by nets. The outer part of the Great Barrier Reef is favoured for such activities, due

to water quality.

Management of tourism in the Great Barrier Reef is geared towards making tourism ecologically sustainable. A daily fee is levied that goes towards research of the Great Barrier Reef. This fee ends up being 20% of the GBRMPA’s income. Policies on cruise ships, bareboat charters, and anchorages limit the traffic on the Great Barrier Reef.

The problems that surround ecotourism in the Great Barrier Reef revolve around permanent tourism platforms. Platforms are large, ship-like vessels that act as a base for tourists while scuba diving and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Seabirds will land on the platforms and defecate which will eventually be washed into the sea. The feces carry nitrogen,

phosphorus and often DDT and mercury, which cause aspergillosis, yellow-band disease, and black band disease. Areas without tourism platforms have 14 out of 9,468 (1.1%) diseased corals versus areas with tourism platforms that have 172 out of 7,043 (12%) diseased corals.] Tourism is a major economic activity for the region. Thus, while non-permanent platforms could be possible in some areas, overall, permanent platforms are likely a necessity. Solutions have been suggested to siphon bird waste into gutters connecting to tanks helping lower runoff that causes coral disease.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has also placed many permanent anchorage points around the general use areas. These act to reduce damage to the reef due to anchoring destroying soft coral, chipping hard coral, and disturbing sediment as it is dragged across the bottom. Tourism operators also must comply with speed limits when travelling to or from tourist destinations, to prevent excessive wake from the boats disturbing the reef ecosystem.

The reef, between 15 kilometers and 150 kilometers off shore and around 65 km wide in some parts, is a gathering of brilliant, vivid coral providing divers with the most spectacular underwater experience imaginable.

A closer encounter with the great Barrier Reef’s impressive coral gardens revals many astounding

Underwater attraction including the World’s largest collection of coral (in fact more then 400 different kinds of coral), coral sponges, mollusks, rays, dolphins, over 1500 spices of tropical fish, more then 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s great natural wonders. It is the largest reef in the world and consists of nearly 3000 individual reefs, 880 islands and hundreds and thousands of different types of plant, bird and marine life. Swimming with the fish and admiring the colors of the coral is a must for any holiday to the Great

Barrier Reef. Outer reef scuba diving and island day trips are some of the more common pastimes on the reef along with scenic flights and rainforest tours to Kuranda and the Daintier Rainforest.

ECOLOGY

The Great Barrier Reef Visitors Bureau has a comprehensive selection of support information for the use of the intending traveller. This section contains, maps and weather information, and links to other holiday destination like. The Great Barrier Reef is a distinct feature of the East Australian cordillera division. It includes the smaller Marry Island it reaches from Torres strait. It is north most island, and the south coast of Papua new guniea in the north to the unnamed passage between lady Elliot island(its southmmost island) and faster island in the south .  Lady Elliot Island is located 1,915Km Southeast of Bramble Cay. The plate tectonic theory indicates Australia has move north wards at a rate of 7 cm per year. Starting during the Cenozoic Eastern Australia experienced a period of tectonic uplift which moved the drainage divide in Queensland.

Reefs can increase in diameter by 1 to 3 centimeters (0.39 to 1.18 in) per year, and grow vertically anywhere from 1 to 25 cm (0.39 to 9.84 in) per year; however, they grow only above a depth of 150 meters (490 ft) due to their need for sunlight, and cannot grow above sea level. From the sediment untill it is edge was too far for away for suspended sediments to inhebit .

CLIMATE AND WEATHER

The Weather over the Great Barrier Reef varies a fair bit due to the long length of the reef. Stretching  over 2500Km down to the coast of Queensland, the majority of the reef is in tropical and sub – tropical regions . The northern part of the reef is in a tropical climate with hot wet summers with heaps of rain and humidity. The southern end the great barrier Reef is sub – tropical  with milder summers and far less humidity.

POLLUTION

Increased noise from more shipping traffic in the region could be having a significant effect on fish stocks and marine mammals.

Marine fisheries acoustic consultant Geoff McPherson has given a submission on the issue to a Senate inquiry into the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr McPherson admitted he was not exactly sure what the impact of shipping noise was on fish and mammals but it was something that should be examined.There is no way we can prevent shipping and that should not be the case, he said.

If we knew more of the acoustic behavior of the marine mammals and the fish on the reef … then you’d be in a better position to maybe reschedule shipping or send it through particular areas.” Mr McPherson said the published impact of excessive noise from ships on aquatic life showed communication could be disrupted.

“If you disrupt their communication it has an impact on social cohesion and reproductive biology,” he said.

McPherson recommended noise be cut by finding ways to reduce individual “ship signatures”. In his submission Mr

Minimizing the time ships spent in Great Barrier Reef waters was another of his recommendations.

Loss of coastal wetland

The runoff problem is exacerbated by the loss of coastal wetlands which act as a natural filter for toxins and help deposit sediment It is thought that the poor water quality is due to increased light and oxygen competition from algae

Shipping

Shipping accidents are a pressing concern, as several commercial shipping routes pass through the Great Barrier Reef. Although the route through the Great Barrier Reef is not easy, reef pilots consider it safer than outside the reef in the event of mechanical failure, since a ship can sit safely while being repaired. There have been over 1,600 knownshipwrecks in the Great Barrier Reef region. On 3 April 2010, bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoals, spilling up to four tonnes of oil into the water and causing extensive damage to the reef

The Great barrier reef management

The UN’s top marine official has prised the Australian Government’s management of the Great Barrier Reef and urged donors to look beyond green groups and directly support UNESCO as an honest broker.

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Fanny Douvere , head of the World Heritage Marine program, said the great barrier Reef was a text book study of how good work could be achived when the UN acted as a broker between environment groups, Scientists and governments.

Ms Douvere led a 2012 UN mission to investigate concerns about the impact of industrial development at Gladstone.

Intervention by the UN led  to a comprehensive review of Austrliaes reef management and the withdrawal of a threagtend in danger listing by the world heritage Commite last year.

Writing in nature Ms dovere said  Australia  was proof that, the most durable solution emerge when diverse viewpoints of activites , scientists and government officials are effectively meditated.

Management of the reef has become an election issue following serious bleaching and high coral mortality on reefs off cape york. Green hunt have expressed concern at how the bleaching data and reef management has been presented.

Ms douvere said that before the un involvement in 2012 the reef has has suffered as a result

Of decisions being made on an incremental basis that threatened death by a thousand cuts.

In 2012 the world heritage committes issued its first warning that it would list the site as world heritage in danger . Unless it saw proof of substaintial progress. Australia’s government committed more then $200 million to improve water quality and set an ambitious aim to reduce pollution run-off by 80 per cent by 2025, Ms Douvere Said.

Proposed port development areas have been restricted from 11 to four major ones, and future coastal development must align with a strageic plan aimed at improving the health of the reef between npw and 2050.

In his address to the world heritage committee last jully , Mr Hunt said that UNESCO advice had allowed Ausralia  to do in 18 month what otherwise would have taken decades.

Tourism

A scuba diver looking at a giant clam on the Great Barrier Reef

Helicopter view of the reef and boats

Due to its vast biodiversity, warm clear waters and accessibility from the tourist boats called “live aboards”, the reef is a very popular destination, especially for scuba divers. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in Cairns and also The Whitsundays due to their accessibility. These areas make up 7%–8% of the Park’s area. The Whitsundays and Cairns have their own Plans of Management. Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips. Several continental and coral cay islands are now resorts, including Green Island and Lady Elliot Island. As of 1996, 27 islands on the Great Barrier Reef supported resorts.

In 1996, most of the tourism in the region was domestically generated and the most popular visiting times were during the Australian winter. At this time, it was estimated that tourists to the Great Barrier Reef contributed A$776 million per annum. As the largest commercial activity in the region, it was estimated in 2003 that tourism generated over A$4 billion annually, and the 2005 estimate increased to A$5.1 billion. A Deloitte report published by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in March 2013 states that the Reef’s 2,000 kilometres of

coastline attracts tourism worth A$6.4 billion annually and employs more than 64,000 people.

Approximately two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year. Although most of these visits are managed in partnership with the marine tourism industry, there is a concern among the general public that tourism is harmful to the Great Barrier Reef.

A variety of boat tours and cruises are offered, from single day trips, to longer voyages. Boat sizes range from dinghies to superyachts. Glass-bottomed boats and underwater observatories are also popular, as are helicopter flights. By far, the most popular tourist

activities on the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving, for which pontoons are often used, and the area is often enclosed by nets. The outer part of the Great Barrier Reef is favoured for such activities, due

to water quality.

Management of tourism in the Great Barrier Reef is geared towards making tourism ecologically sustainable. A daily fee is levied that goes towards research of the Great Barrier Reef. This fee ends up being 20% of the GBRMPA’s income. Policies on cruise ships, bareboat charters, and anchorages limit the traffic on the Great Barrier Reef.

The problems that surround ecotourism in the Great Barrier Reef revolve around permanent tourism platforms. Platforms are large, ship-like vessels that act as a base for tourists while scuba diving and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Seabirds will land on the platforms and defecate which will eventually be washed into the sea. The feces carry nitrogen,

phosphorus and often DDT and mercury, which cause aspergillosis, yellow-band disease, and black band disease. Areas without tourism platforms have 14 out of 9,468 (1.1%) diseased corals versus areas with tourism platforms that have 172 out of 7,043 (12%) diseased corals. Tourism is a major economic activity for the region. Thus, while non-permanent platforms could be possible in some areas, overall, permanent platforms are likely a necessity. Solutions have been suggested to siphon bird waste into gutters connecting to tanks helping lower runoff that causes coral disease.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has also placed many permanent anchorage points around the general use areas. These act to reduce damage to the reef due to anchoring destroying soft coral, chipping hard coral, and disturbing sediment as it is dragged across the bottom. Tourism operators also must comply with speed limits when travelling to or from tourist destinations, to prevent excessive wake from the boats disturbing the reef ecosystem.

 

 

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