Visit Great Barrier Reef – ” and joined off the coast of Cairns, Australia to verify the results of a four-year Coral Nurturing Program which aims to protect the Great Barrier Reef’s high value sites from future extreme weather events.
Funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the program is a joint partnership between University of Technology Sydney (UTS) scientists and Port Douglas-based Wavelength Reef Cruises.
Visit Great Barrier Reef
Speaking from Opal Reef after finishing a two-week expedition last Friday, UTS lead researcher and coral scientist Professor David Suggett said the Coral Nurturing Program is
Great Barrier Reef
“It’s been a year since we were able to visit these particular reef sites and they look spectacular. We’ve had two years now of great growing conditions. The coral looks very vibrant. We are seeing a lot more recruitment, so it gives us a lot of positive encouragement that the reef sites (Coral Nurture) are improving.”
“The collective action of operators planting tens of thousands of corals means we can now begin to understand how, when and why coral replanting is successful. That is now feeding forward to new stewardship-based management for the Great Barrier Reef.”
The Coral Nurture Program began four years ago when John and Jenny Edmondson, marine biologists and co-owners of Wavelength Reef Cruises set out to help tourism operators build reef resilience after experiencing the 2016 bleaching event. Since then they have recruited five Cairns reef operators- Another Port Douglas for the Coral Nurture Programme.
“After the bleaching in 2016, it was difficult to come out here and see it all. We came up with ideas about how to have a cheap and quick way to plant large amounts of coral out and thus return the sites back to what they used to be. We’re seeing a really incredible percentage of coral cover now simply because of planting and natural recovery.”
Visit The Great Barrier Reef
The Coral Nurturing Program is simple and low tech. Under the management of scientists, it relies on staff from reef tourist boats to maximize their reef visits and tend to coral nurseries while tourists enjoy the wonders of the nearby Great Barrier Reef.
John Liang is News Editor at . He got the diving bug for the first time while at Cairo High School, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white tipping sharks off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the underwater press conference most.
We’ve been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussion from around the underwater world since 1996.
Reef Management Strategies
Year after year, millions of tourists flock to the Queensland coast to catch a glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef. The largest living coral reef system in the world is a place of rich biodiversity and deep spiritual significance for indigenous and non-indigenous people alike. Beneath the glassy turquoise waters, thousands of marine species live in perfect symbiosis; create a colorful underwater city that is full of life.
In the last five years, we have seen three major mass bleaching events as a result of climate change; the frequency and severity of these have damaged the Reef and the livelihood of 64,000 people.
Our growing climate crisis has caused a 54 percent increase in the number of marine hot weather days each year; making it difficult for damaged corals to recover sufficiently. These dramatic changes to the once thriving underwater ecosystem are causing a sense of anxiety among tourism operators.
“What you’ll find is that some tourism operators are a bit wary of talking about the problems the Reef is facing. Obviously, they don’t want people to know that the Reef is under threat; it’s bad for business,” said dive operator Tony Fontes.
An Underwater Art Museum Graces The Great Barrier Reef
“If we talk about it, then the public start thinking: ‘well, there’s no Reef, so we’ll have to visit somewhere else’. It’s a fine line,” he said.
With 40 years of diving experience under his belt, Fontes has seen the decline and regeneration of corals, along with the changes to the Reef’s tourism industry.
“The Reef has had significant bleaching events, especially in the last five years. But there is still a lot of good coral out there. When bleaching happens, or cyclones – you have to move. That’s pretty much what everyone has done”.
Coral bleaching occurs when zooxanthellae – the colorful microscopic algae that live in the coral – are expelled due to environmental stresses such as marine heat waves caused by climate change. The absence of zooxanthellae gives the coral a faded, bleached appearance. If the temperature fails to return to normal, the coral eventually dies. Coral reefs can take decades to recover from a single bleaching event.
Visit The Great Barrier Reef Before Climate Change Kills The Coral
“What I’ve seen happening now, in terms of adaptation, is more non-underwater activities like sailing, bushwalking and jet skiing. Many operators are looking at activities that do not require you to go into the water and look at coral – which, to me, is extremely sad – but they have no choice,” said Fontes.
At 1.5°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a loss of 70-90 percent of the world’s coral reefs. At 2°C, that number increases to 99 per cent.
Dr Nikola Casule, Head of Research and Investigations at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, says that the damage caused to the Reef occurs because humans have interfered with the natural mechanisms of the planet. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon emissions, which exacerbate the greenhouse effect and increase the temperature of our oceans.
“Corals are very sensitive to the specific ecosystems they live in; they can only survive within a small temperature range. Climate change is actually the biggest threat to the Reef, mainly because of the damaging effect that warming conditions have on corals,” said Dr Casule.
When’s The Best Time To Snorkel In Great Barrier Reef
Queensland’s tourism industry is completely dependent on the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, but David Cazzulino from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) believes the Reef’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years.
“A lot of tourism operators are frustrated with questions like: ‘wow, I heard the Reef is dying – do I bother coming to see it?'”
“There is concern, if we don’t act, what will happen to regional centers like Cairns and Whitsundays – all those places where tourism is very dependent on the Great Barrier Reef”.
“That has been the core of our work at the AMCS – so far, over thirty tourism operators have signed the Reef Climate Declaration which calls for action on climate change to keep global warming below 1.5°C. That timeline depends on what we do now,” Cazzulino said.
Visiting The Great Barrier Reef
Fontes, having worked on the Reef for a large part of his life, says he is optimistic and realistic about the future of the Reef’s tourism industry.
“Future generations will have a Great Barrier Reef if we get on top of things soon. But if you want to make an impact and get people to do something, you can’t just talk about nature and its beauty – you also have to talk about jobs and money,” says Fontes.
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is essential to safeguarding the future of the Great Barrier Reef and its tourism industry. Dr Casule says there is absolutely no time to waste. “The best time to take this seriously was 30 years ago, the next best time is now”.
“The question facing Australia, and the Federal Government in particular, is – do we want coral, or do we want coal? Because we can’t have both. The survival of the Reef is incompatible with continuing to burn coal,” said Dr Casule.
Visit Great Barrier Reef In Australia
“As long as we do our part, speak up for the Reef, and work together to push for bolder climate action – I think there is hope to protect our iconic reef,” Cazzulino concludes.
Our reporter, Donna Lu, joined the researchers who are trying to regrow damaged parts of the Great Barrier Reef by collecting and incubating coral larvae.
The Living Coral Biobank plans to house more than 800 species of the world’s hard corals as an insurance policy in case we need to rebuild reefs in the future Col McKenzie calls on the government to stop funding work Terry Hughes, saying that tourists ‘won’t do long hauling trips when they think the reef is dead’
A leading scientist has been accused of exaggerating the damage to the Great Barrier Reef, which a tourism representative said had hurt the region’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. Photograph: Richard Fitzpatrick
Top 3 Diving Myths On The Great Barrier Reef
A Queensland tourism representative has called one of the Great Barrier Reef’s leading researchers
Can you visit the great barrier reef, how to visit great barrier reef, when to visit great barrier reef, where to visit great barrier reef, best time to visit great barrier reef, best place to visit great barrier reef, reasons to visit the great barrier reef, places to visit in great barrier reef, great barrier reef time to visit, why visit the great barrier reef, great barrier reef liveaboard, visit great barrier reef australia