Marine conservationists welcome funding for Reef monitoring by tourism industry and call for greater action

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) welcomes the announcement from the federal government of $3.2 million to help Reef tourism operators monitor coral condition and help control Crown of Thorns outbreaks.

Great Barrier Reef Campaigner David Cazzulino said: “We welcome the federal government’s investment in our beautiful Great Barrier Reef and the thousands of jobs it supports. Reef tourism operators have been doing it tough due to COVID travel restrictions and this money will help workers perform vital monitoring work.

“Support for the Reef tourism industry was one of the asks we put to the federal government back in May as part of our push for smart, sustainable stimulus to help our Reef and the economy at once.

“At the same time as we’ve experienced unprecedented disruption from the pandemic, our Reef has been hit with its own crisis. This summer record ocean temperatures led to a third mass coral bleaching event in just five years. This is climate change in action.

“We know that prime tourism sites off Cairns and Port Douglas recorded only minor bleaching this year which is a relief.

“However, we still don’t have an accurate understanding of the impact of the 2020 bleaching event across the whole of the Reef because, unlike in 2016, there has been no comprehensive science-backed underwater surveys completed nor commitment to fund them.

“In addition to this much needed money for tourism operators, we need to fully fund a comprehensive bleaching survey that assesses the impact of the latest event and tracks the recovery of corals.”

“Climate change is the single biggest threat to our Reef. The Federal government needs to commit to do our fair share to reduce carbon emissions to protect Australia’s greatest natural asset so future generations can enjoy it, and the tourism industry that depends on it remains viable.”

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