“Ocean Acidification is destined to be one of the biggest issues humanity has ever faced.”
– Dr J.E.N. (‘Charlie’) Veron
World Renowned Reef Scientist
Sometimes described as the other CO2 problem. Leading marine and Coral scientists say that, left unchecked, ocean acidification could destroy all our coral reefs by as early as 2050. It also has the potential to disrupt other ocean ecosystems, fisheries, habitats, and even entire oceanic food chains.
For more information see: http://oceanacidification.net/
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) stretches 2,300km from the Torres Strait to just north of Bundaberg. It covers an area of 345,000km2 and is comprised of nearly three thousand reefs and more than nine hundred islands and cays. The GBR, listed under all four natural World Heritage criteria for its outstanding universal value, is home to fifteen hundred fish species, nearly two hundred different bird species and more than thirty marine mammals. Further, over three hundred types of hard coral and one third of all the world’s soft coral occur in the GBR. Six turtle species occur in the GBR, all listed as endangered, and they share the shallow seagrass bed feeding areas with that most gentle of marine creatures, the dugong. Coral reefs are richly biodiverse and many are now under serious threat due largely to the impacts of human activities.
Key Threats to this natural wonder
Proposed expansions in fossil fuel exports and associated port infrastructure are cause for great concern and add additional threats to a system already under great pressure from human activity.
Major threats to the GBR include over-fishing, land-based pollution and global warming (including Ocean Acidification). Agricultural activities including sugar cane farming and cattle grazing, increasing industrial and urban coastal development, increased tourism activity and the loss of natural filtering systems of wetlands and mangroves have all led to an increase in sediment and chemical residues entering the waters of the GBR. These issues are further compounded by inadequate environmental planning regulations for the coastal areas of Queensland.
Net fishing can have serious implications for the health of inshore marine environments. Many kilometres of nets may be set around coastline every single day, presenting a constant danger to marine wildlife and a threat to coastal marine ecosystems. Aside from the changes to ecosystem health brought about by removing fishstocks, endangered species such as marine turtles, dugong, dolphin and whales are all at risk of drowning.
Net fisheries in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, the wider Queensland caostal waters and estuaries are managed as part of the the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFF). Due to widespread concern from the fishing and conservation communities, the Queensland Government has committed to removing around half of the licensed net fishing effort. This will be achieved through a buy-out of licenses.
CAFNEC has serious concerns regarding the management of the ECIFF and supports the efforts of the Port Douglas based Fishers for Conservation in bringing attention to this issue.