Reef survey is good news for local operators
TOUR operators are “bloody relieved” about the latest scientific assessment of coral recovery from the Great Barrier Reef’s worst ever bleaching event.
Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators executive director Col McKenzie said the science showed nearly all the reefs visited by tourists had weathered this year’s bleaching storm relatively well.
“The Great Barrier Reef is well and truly open for business,” he said.
“We’re continuing to provide our customers with the world-class experience they have come to expect.”
He said the ultimate cause of coral bleaching events – increasing global temperatures due to climate change – was beyond the scope of regional leaders to manage.
“We’ve survived this time around, but this is no time for complacency for our industry,” he said.
“This report shows that marine tourism operations are good stewards of the Reef.”
Reef and Rainforest Research Centre managing direc- tor Sheriden Morris said it was important for industry, managers, researchers and the community to work together to actively defend and sustain reef health in the region.
“In these situations it can seem easier to shoot the messenger rather than actually get to grips with the problem,” she said.
“But that’s not going to help the future of the Reef or the marine tourism industry. Climate change is a global problem and will need a global solution.
“But there are things we can do here in northern Queensland to reduce other threats to the Great Barrier Reef and build its resilience, with tour operators, scientists, farmers, and communities all working together.”