Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

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Information about Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Published on October 10, 2007

Author: Nathaniel


Great Barrier Reef Marine Park:  Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Kristen Alexander Barbara Ford Judith Benavides Amanda Taylor Michael Hilmo Brief Overview:  Brief Overview Introduction Visitor Attractions and Use Major Visitor-Related Problem Impacts of tourists on fish assemblages Solution for the Future Close FSAS areas during spawning Stricter enforcement and fines Additional research Introduction:  Introduction Map:  Map Location:  Location Located in Coral Sea Off coast of Queensland, Australia 3,000 individual reefs 900 islands Covers span of 2,600 kilometers (1,616 miles) The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area extends from just south of the Tropic of Capricorn to the coastal waters of Papua New Guinea 24°30'N-10°41'S, 145°00'-154°00'E. Flora:  Flora Red Algae Sargassum bed Golden noodle algae Seagrass Zooxanthellae Fauna:  Fauna Clown Fish Spinner Dolphin Estuary Crocodile Hump-Back Whale Estuary Stingray Humphead Parrotfish History:  History 1903-1948: State Forests and National Parks Act Green Island (1937) Heron Island (1943) 1959 – 1976: Forestry Act Heron Wistari and Green Island Marine Parks (1974) First marine parks in the reef 1975: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1976: National Parks and Wildlife Act and Fisheries Act 1979: Capricornia Section proclaimed (first section of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park) 1981: Cairns and Cormorant Pass sections declared as part of park 1981: Added to World Heritage list 1981 – present: Remainder of Marine Park added Human Use History:  Human Use History 40,000-60,000 years ago: first used by indigenous people of Australia 1890: pleasure cruise from Cairns to Green Island 1930: resorts develop in the area 1937: first glass-bottom boat used for viewing coral reef in area 1970’s: transportation services improve, allowing for visitors to come from farther distances to view reef 1980’s: number of visitors increases rapidly Late 1980’s: airstrips appear in area, increasing accessibility for tourists 1989: 24 resorts in the area 1990’s to present: visitor numbers are static. Mission Statement:  Mission Statement To provide for the protection, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. –Marine Park Authority Management Goals/Objectives:  Management Goals/Objectives Protection Community Involvement Care and Development Economic Development Integrated Management Community Commitment Minimize Costs Minimize Human Interference Quality Employment Education Future Development Information on Park Personnel:  Information on Park Personnel Marine Park Authority had about 160 staff in 1994-1995 Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service has approximately 60 staff Limited amount of field officers – only 7 cover area from Cooktown to Cape York Peninsula (over 800 km long) 300 Marine Park inspectors work within federal and state services Visitor Attractions and Use:  Visitor Attractions and Use Major Attractions:  Major Attractions Major attraction is tourism World’s most extensive stretch of coral reef 3,400 individual reefs There are approximately 300 coral cays There are also 618 continental islands which were once part of the mainland Number of Annual Users:  Number of Annual Users Activities:  Activities Fishing Diving Snorkeling Boating Motorized Water Sports Sea Kayaking Passenger ferries Fish/Shark Feeding Whale Watching Windsurfing Photography Shell Collecting Day tours Overnight tours Charters Aircraft/Helicopter tours Cruise ships Zoning:  Zoning GBRMPA has established an extensive zoning system New plan was put into place in 2003 8 zones Visitor Concentration:  Visitor Concentration 85% of visitors concentrated in Cairns and Whitsunday areas Cairns area day visits to pontoons/moorings extended fishing/diving charters aircraft/helicopter flights Whitsunday area visiting resorts island bays Seasonal Use:  Seasonal Use Reef is visited year round due to mild climate Rainy and Dry season Rainy season can impact diving/snorkeling because runoff/rain can stir up sediment, but still happens year-round Also chance of tropical cyclones during rainy season Visitor Profile:  Visitor Profile Visitor-Related Problems:  Visitor-Related Problems Major Visitor-Related Problem:  Major Visitor-Related Problem Impacts of Tourists on Fish Assemblages Observing schools of fish through: Snorkeling or Scuba Diving Fish feeding from boats or pontoons Damage to the Coral Reef Slide25:  Many tropical fish associated with coral reefs aggregate at specific times and locations to spawn Sites known as Fish Spawning Aggregation Sites (FSAS) Spawning aggregations of 49 species of fish have been reported on the Great Barrier Reef Slide26:  Tourist vessels, in water tourism activity, fish feeding and physical damage to the coral caused by tourist activities inhibit the formation of fish aggregations The Cairns Area Plan of Management regulates tourism among 270 mooring sites and seven reefs with no limit on mooring numbers Within this area there are 10 reefs where known FSAS exist Slide27:  3 Sources of Disturbance to Fish Assemblages Divers and Snorklers’ mere presence in the water Fish feeding Coral damage from tourist vessels and marine tourist activities Why It’s Important:  Why It’s Important Protection of spawning aggregates is necessary to ensure future replenishment and sustainability of fish stock in the Great Barrier Reef Coral and blue spot trout, surgeonfish, and rabbit fish are all spawning aggregate species that are targeted by commercial and recreational fishers The Future of the Reef:  The Future of the Reef If left unmanaged, these problems could lead to a decrease in the suitable spawning areas for some fish species and an ultimate decline or even extinction of some species Management Strategies:  Management Strategies Interim Policy for Fish Spawning Aggregation Site and Tourism Activity Management Measures implemented in December 1997 Moorings must be at least 100 m away from a FSAS Visitors adhere to voluntary code of conduct to minimize disturbance Marine Park Authority will avoid FSAS sites for future moorings, pontoons and reef anchorages and continue to monitor Does this management plan work?:  Does this management plan work? No! Too many people do not adhere to the voluntary code of conduct There is not enough research stating the actual impacts nearby activity causes Solution for the Future:  Solution for the Future Solutions:  Solutions Close FSAS sites to visitors, tour operators and fishermen during spawning seasons Make code of conduct mandatory – any vessels caught anchoring or mooring on FSAS sites fined Conduct more research to see true effect of disturbance Why will this work?:  Why will this work? Closing the FSAS sites will allow fish species to spawn undisturbed permitting declining species to recover Stricter enforcement and harsher fines will encourage those who are reluctant to adhere to “best environmental practices” Conducting more research will allow scientists to see the true impact visitors have on the marine life of the reef Is this plan realistic?:  Is this plan realistic? YES! Visitation among most areas of the park is relatively low – getting tour operators and visitors to relocate during spawning seasons will require minimal staff and effort Fines will bring in revenue that can be used to fund additional staff if needed and to fund research Future :  Future With these management solutions, the park will increase revenue and the declining fish species and damaged coral will be given a chance to recover The quality of the recreational experience will improve for most of the visitors as the natural habitat is restored Conclusion:  Conclusion Conclusion:  Conclusion Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is located off the coast of Australia Is a major ecosystem of both marine and island flora and fauna Fishing, fish/shark feeding, and mooring, anchoring, and pontoon boating threaten the fish and coral habitats in the reef To solve this problem, more research should be conducted, stricter enforcement of rules regarding fish habitats should be enforced, and code of conduct should be mandatory. Peer-Reviewed Sources:  Peer-Reviewed Sources Moscardo, Gianna, and David Green. "Age and Activity Participation on the Great Barrier Reef." Tourism Recreation Research 24 (1999): 57-68. Tourism and Hospitality Index. EBSCO. Moscardo, Gianna, David Green, and Tanya Greenwood. "How Great is the Great Barrier Reef." Tourism Recreation Research 26 (2001): 19-25. Tourism and Hospitality Index. EBSCO. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Publication Series: Numbers 21, 80 Harriott, VJ. 2002. Marine tourism impacts and their management on the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Reef Research Centre Technical Report No 46. CRC Reef Research Centre, Townsville. Russell, Martin. Spawning Aggregations of Reef Fishes on The Great Barrier Reef: Implications for Management Further Reading:  Further Reading

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