Wa­ter qual­ity needs clar­ity

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

TOURISM op­er­a­tors on the Bar­rier Reef should stop us­ing pic­turesque un­der­wa­ter pho­tos of bright pink and yel­low coral and tell peo­ple what the reef is truly like ac­cord­ing to Whit­sun­day op­er­a­tor Al Grundy.

Mr Grundy told a Bris­bane fo­rum about tourism and the Great Bar­rier Reef that wa­ter qual­ity in the Whit­sun­days had de­clined 45% in the past 10 years.

He said some­times the wa­ter qual­ity was so poor, they couldn't let tourists swim or snorkel.

Mr Grundy, from Ex­plore Whit­sun­days, quizzed pan­el­lists about how the Great Bar­rier Reef should be mar­keted to in­ter­na­tional tourists when some days it was not pos­si­ble to swim in the wa­ter.

He said wa­ter qual­ity var­ied from day to day and on some days staff would carry out a risk as­sess­ment and re­alise the wa­ter qual­ity was too poor.

Lady El­liot Is­land Eco Re­sort man­ag­ing direc­tor Peter Gash, who works on the re­sort lo­cated off the coast be­tween Glad­stone and Bund­aberg, agreed any mar­ket­ing should be hon­est and trans­par­ent.

"The Whit­sun­days is one of the most beau­ti­ful places on the planet ... but it is prob­a­bly not the place to con­sis­tently pre­sume or ex­pect to snorkel with the types of coral you'd see on the outer reef," he said.

Mr Grundy said de­clin­ing wa­ter qual­ity and in­creas­ing sed­i­men­ta­tion were prob­lems in the Whit­sun­day area and soft corals were de­te­ri­o­rat­ing rapidly.

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