Fight­ing to save our del­i­cate reef

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - AL GRUNDY Tourism Whit­sun­days chair­man

I WAS for­tu­nate enough to at­tend the Reef Sum­mit in Townsville at the end of May, which was wall-to-wall with reef ex­perts.

We all know the im­por­tance of the reef to our tourism in­dus­try.

In Aus­tralia, tourism is worth about $50b a year and the Great Bar­rier Reef is one of the main rea­sons vis­i­tors travel long haul.

We know there is a job to be done in pro­tect­ing it, for our in­dus­try now and also Cel­sius hot­ter.

Each time there is an ad­verse weather event, co­ral reefs die, but the rate of de­cline dur­ing the most re­cent weather events has been much faster than pre­vi­ously.

The pri­or­ity list of ac­tion points com­ing out of the sum­mit were as fol­lows:

An all-out at­tack on Crown of Thorns, which de­stroy co­ral reefs

Re­port cards that are rel­e­vant and have cur­rent data (not 18 months old)

Look af­ter bright spots (healthy reefs) to fos­ter growth and pro­vide nurs­eries

A team ready to quickly ap­prove Spe­cial Man­age­ment Ar­eas (SMAs) or per­mits when cy­clones or ma­jor weather events

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