Chair­man re­sponds to RIP re­ports

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Sharon Small­wood Sharon.Small­wood@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THE Great Bar­rier Reef is very much alive and thriv­ing in the Whit­sun­days.

This is the mes­sage from tourism op­er­a­tors, the Whit­sun­days re­gional tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion and even the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Author­ity fol­low­ing nega­tive me­dia re­ports over the week­end.

On Mon­day GBRMPA chair­man Rus­sell Re­ichelt is­sued a state­ment say­ing re­ports to the con­trary were “ir­re­spon­si­ble and un­true”.

He ad­mit­ted be­ing “deeply con­cerned” about the im­pacts of the mass coral bleach­ing event af­fect­ing coral reefs through­out the world, in­clud­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“(But) head­lines that dis­em­power peo­ple will not help us pro­tect the reef’s long-term fu­ture, which continues to be my sole mis­sion and the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Author­ity’s sin­gle, stead­fast fo­cus,” he said.

Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner agreed the “greatly ex­ag­ger­ated and in­ac­cu­rate” ar­ti­cle by Out­side Mag­a­zine had spread mis­in­for­ma­tion glob­ally about the health and fu­ture of the Great Bar­rier Reef and he was quick to paint an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of the scene be­low the water in the Whit­sun­days.

“Dur­ing the re­cent global coral bleach­ing event ear­lier this year, the ma­jor­ity of the corals in the Whit­sun­days re­mained un­af­fected, with only mi­nor bleach­ing recorded in the re­gion,” he said. “TW ac­knowl­edges there is con­tin­ual hard work ahead for the long-term re­cov­ery and pro­tec­tion of the GBR (but) the Whit­sun­days’ tourism in­dus­try is proac­tively work­ing with GBRMPA and the Whit­sun­day Char­ter Boat In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (WCBIA) to pro­tect (it) by mon­i­tor­ing tourism im­pacts and im­ple­ment­ing best prac­tice pro­ce­dures.

“Work­ing to­gether to en­sure re­silience and the long-term pro­tec­tion of the Great Bar­rier Reef is a shared goal, and a more ef­fec­tive mes­sage of hope for the fu­ture of this liv­ing nat­u­ral won­der.”

Head­lines that dis­em­power peo­ple will not help us pro­tect the reef’s long-term fu­ture. — Rus­sell Re­ichelt GBRMPA


ALIVE AND BEAU­TI­FUL: A diver pic­tured on a Whit­sun­day reef.

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