UNESCO you know nothing about our reef
WHILE UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is considering labelling the Great Barrier Reef ‘‘at risk’’, scuba divers, local tour operators and even the fish are all smiles.
A UNESCO report released last week warned that not enough was being done by the Federal and Queensland Governments to address concerns raised by the agency last year.
The agency said it is concerned about port development and water quality but has postponed changing the category to ‘‘at risk’’ until next year.
Meanwhile out at Agincourt Reef, off Port Douglas, Poseidon skipper and Oak Beach Productions photographer David Miller said the reef and fish life have never looked better.
Mr Miller has been skippering reef boats for 35 years before getting involved in underwater photography and diving with Poseidon.
‘‘I have been diving the Agincourt reef system consistently since 1998 and I’ve seen nothing but rejuvenation - it has a high quality of survival through natural means,’’ he said.
‘‘The health of the coral out there and the fish life is fantas- tic and just gets better.
‘‘In my opinion the reef is not affected by humans, it’s damaged naturally and I have seen on other reefs around the world the total devastation from cyclones or crown of thorns and in eight or nine years the reef is pristine again.’’
Healthy coral and fish life in green zones such as Agincourt attracts fish that are used to divers and go about their business as normal like the coral trout which was recently snapped having his teeth cleaned.
‘‘ For fishermen that trout would make them salivate, but for us, what a beautiful looking fish,’’ Mr Miller said.
‘‘He knows he is in the green zone which is friendly, it’s amazing how friendly fish can get when they don’t treat you as a threat.
‘‘This trout ignored our presence and opened its mouth at these cleaner stations for cleaner wrasse to come in and remove parasites from their bodies to make them more efficient on the reef as a feeder.
‘‘It’s a great experience for all divers and snorkellers to be able to have that opportunity, it’s quite special.’’
a coral trout ’getting his teeth cleaned’