So­cial study to help plan fu­ture for reef

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A TO­TAL of 672 Whit­sun­day res­i­dents, tourists and busi­nesses were asked how they use, re­late to and value the Great Bar­rier Reef as part of the Com­mon­wealth Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (CSIRO) most ex­ten­sive so­cial study to date.

Over the next two months CSIRO will be ap­proach­ing a to­tal of 5000 peo­ple from Cook­town to Bund­aberg to gain an un­der­stand­ing of what the Great Bar­rier Reef means to those who live nearby, work around it or visit the area.

CSIRO so­cial sci­en­tist Dr Nadine Mar­shall said it was the first time per­sonal thoughts and feel­ings about the reef had been com­pre­hen­sively col­lected.

“Years of data ex­ist on the eco­nomic, eco­log­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal di­men­sions of the reef and now we’re clos­ing the loop and in­clud­ing the hard­est di­men­sion of all – peo­ple,” she said.

Sur­vey field team leader Jeremy Gold­berg said the re­sponse from Air­lie Beach was over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive.

“One thing seemed to stand out to me was that most tourists ex­pressed a de­sire to re­turn to the Great Bar­rier Reef re­gion in the fu­ture which I think speaks highly of their ex­pe­ri­ence in Air­lie Beach,” he said.

The find­ings will pro­vide vi­tal in­for­ma­tion to reef man­agers, busi­nesses and govern­ment to help them make de­ci­sions that re­flect the needs of peo­ple who in­ter­act with the reef.

The ques­tion­naire cov­ers peo­ple’s per­cep­tions on marine tourism, tradi- tional own­ers, ports and ship­ping, aqua­cul­ture, min­ing, res­i­dents and coastal com­mu­ni­ties.

Re­sults will be an­nounced to­wards the end of the year when a snap­shot of 2013 will be re­leased.

The three year, $2 mil­lion study is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flag­ship, the National En­vi­ron­ment Re­search Pro­gram, James Cook Univer­sity and the Great Bar­rier Reef Foun­da­tion.

IN­SIDE SCOOP: CSIRO sur­vey staff mem­ber Jacquie Sheils asked Whit­sun­day res­i­dent Craig Devlin a se­ries of ques­tions to gain an un­der­stand­ing of how peo­ple use, re­late to and value the Great Bar­rier Reef as part of the So­cial Eco­nomic Long Term Mon­i­tor­ing Pro­gram (SELTMP) last fort­night.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.