Reef sur­vey is good news for lo­cal op­er­a­tors

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Daniel Bate­man

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.”

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