Australia: Outlook Report Sounds Warning for GBR
The release of two important reports have confirmed the stresses and dangers to the Reef are accumulating fast but that governments are falling short on the action needed to address pressures including port development, dredging and dumping and increased shipping, announced marineconservation.org.au.
The Reef Outook Report and Great Barrier Reef Strategic Assessment reports reveal:
– Five years on from the last Outlook Report, almost all the risks to the Reef remain the same or have increased despite claims of ‘good management’ by governments during the time;
– Uncertainty about the additional effects of sea dumping of dredge spoil are highlighted as a growing concern, with the Outlook Report noting that monitoring of impacts has been inadequate;
– Dumping of dredge spoil is considered a high risk to the Reef’s values;
– There is no comprehensive plan for managing or monitoring cumulative impacts of processes with environmental impacts across the region.
Australian Marine Conservation Society, Great Barrier Reef campaign director, Felicity Wishart said the future of the Great Barrier Reef is heading for the rocks and without intervention for stronger environmental protection it won’t get better.
“The time has come for the thousands of words in government reports warning of danger and destruction of the Reef – including those released today – to be turned into action,” Ms Wishart said.
“For example, a world first study recently found dredging activity can more than double the level of coral disease yet the government’s plan is for a policy to manage dredge dumping rather than action to stop it.
“There are plans for dredging at locations from Cairns to Gladstone with at least 22 million cubic metres proposed to be dumped in the Reef’s waters.
“The Outlook Report warns dredge spoil may travel for more than 100kms, smothering coral reefs and seagrasses.
“Any reasonable person reading these reports would come to the same conclusion. The Federal and Queensland governments must immediately put a stop to industrial scale dredging and dumping in the waters of the Reef if they’re serous about protecting it for the future,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, August 14, 2014