Great Barrier Reef management and protection Essay
The Great Barrier Reef Is an extensive and Intricate ecosystem which Is located off the east coast of Northern Queensland. The GAB stretches roughly 2300 kilometers from as far north as Fly River in PANG to as far south as Frazer Island. The whole reef system covers 354, 000 square kilometers in total which makes it the largest and most famous coral reef system in the world.
Holding one of the world’s broadest ranges of genetic biodiversity, the maintenance of the GAB is vital. Reasons for the conservation of the reef include economic value, importance as a reservoir for illogical diversity, it is the largest reef system in the world, it is used for education and research into revolutionary processes, it plays an important role in the carbon cycle, chemicals can be removed for use in medicine and the GAB also prevents coastal erosion.
Over time, reef management strategies have been introduced to help with the preservation and conservation of the reef, these strategies Include traditional and contemporary management. Traditional management was when the Aboriginal people had complete control over the land, the Indigenous people’s management included great admiration for the land, treating it with respect and sing only justifiable amounts of food and materials. This was a sustainable and successful management strategy used to conserve and preserve the GAB.
Contemporary management included reef exploitation, UN-sustainable usage of materials, disregard for pollution and UN-policed fishing which led the GAB to be at NSA (GENETIC DIVERSITY, UTILITY VALUE, INTRINSIC VALUE AND HERITAGE VALUE AS ALL REASONS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE GAB) Traditional management of the GAB boats superiority and success (BACK UP). Traditional management strategies portrayed knowledge about the ecosystem harbored by the Indigenous people; they understood the significant of the ecosystem, the need for sustainability and the reasons for preservation.
The Indigenous people trusted the reef to provide food, building materials, medicine and of course beauty, however, the way In which these needs were harvested from the reef was gentle so that there was no exploitation and no UN?sustainable activity. Being that there are more than 35 separate groups of Aboriginal and Tortes Strait Islander people with links to the land surrounding the GAB, tribes did not exist on only one area of the land for their life but instead moved around so that the land was not overused in sections.
The traditional management strategies used and enforced by the indigenous people were extremely successful in preserving the reef. They were able to live off the land without exploiting and without disturbing the dynamic equilibrium that exists on the GAB. The indigenous people are able to focus their management important factors such as stewardship and conservation of resources for future generation.
Aboriginal and Tortes Strait Islander people feel an accountability to look after the land on which they exist because of 2 million years of deep spiritual connections and links between the two. Stress on the technology meaning that the traditional management strategies were very effective in preserving the land. The GAB has altered and varied over many years, meaning that the management required has changed too. Contemporary management has been adjusted to suit the ever-changing needs of the GAB to aid in preserving, conserving and protecting the delicate ecosystem.
Supporting the contemporary management practices include establishing, in 1975, the largest URINE Park in the world, World Heritage listing in 1981, broad scientific research and pressure from all parties effected. The SPAM had an act put in place by the federal government to assist in the management of the reef. To enable the reef to be properly managed, state and federal government agencies are involved in GAB management, these include Australian Marine Safety Authority, Queensland Department of Transport, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and The Aboriginal and Tortes Strait Islander Commission.
All of the government agencies involved follow four principals; Management at the ecosystem level to achieve overall protection of the ecosystem, Conservation and reasonable use so that the ecosystem provides opportunities for sustainable use and enjoyment of its resources while being protected, Public participation and community involvement in the development and implementation of management, Monitoring and performance evaluation of management. In 2004 the Marine Park Authority introduced zoning to help manage the reef.
Buffer zones were introduced for people to appreciate and enjoy areas of the reef without disturbing the national park zones. Conservation park zones are to allow small-scale recreational fishing. Estuarine conservation zones allow recreational activities such as snorkeling and diving. General usage zones allow a diverse range of recreational and commercial activities such as tourist boats. Habitat park zones allow a varied array of recreational and commercial activities. National park zones allow the public to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the nature around them, being classified as high conservation value.
Preservation zones forbid any public access to a totally protected high conservation value area of the marine park. The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009 identified climate change as one of the greatest threats to the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef, including; ocean acidification, rising sea enraptures, rising sea level and the increased frequency of severe weather events. There is also expected to be flow-on impacts for communities and industries which is why the Great Barrier Reef Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan 2012-2017 was created.
It outlines how we will build Great Barrier Reefs health so it’s better able to cope with stress and avoid climate change impacts. Climate change has increased sea surface temperature, if this increase continues the temperature will exceed that of which the coral has the ability to grow which results in the leaching of copious amounts of coral, for example, in 1998, there was a global mass bleaching event where 50 per cent of the reefs on the Great Barrier Reef suffered bleaching. During this time, sea temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef were the highest ever recorded.
From alterations in the temperature of the sea the water movement is affected causing vast ocean currents that act as a nutrients recycling cycle. This can be enough for the elimination of the reef. Climate change is not solely negative but is one of the most important roles of the reef. Green-house gases maintains the health and growth of the coral, without which the corals would not be able to survive. Seal level rise will impact negatively on the reef as the penetration of sunlight becomes less effective because the distance of that energy has to travel to reach the coral will be further.
Being the largest and most beautiful reef system in the world the GAB attracts about 2 million tourists each year meaning that the activities carried out are examined very carefully. Tourism is a vital method in educating people about this delicate ecosystem. Through education the SPAM are blew to encourage conservation and preservation and influence people on the importance of the ecosystem. One aim set in place by the World Heritage Convention is to promote education concerning environmental protection as well as the influence of human activities on ecosystems.
This will promote vigilance and care when visiting fragile reefs. Having 85% of the total number of tourists visiting the reef yearly only use 7% of the reef clashes with the importance the Indigenous people placed on not using too much of the one area but moving around. Without following the living quinine employed by the Indigenous people we are in danger of disturbing the reef and the aquaculture of the reef. We are also in danger of disturbing the water quality of the reef as the increased use of nutrients, pesticides and other pollutants on the land are ending up in the water.
Also because The Great Barrier Reef receives the run-off from 38 major catchments, discharges are the single biggest source of nutrients to the inshore areas of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This is seen as the second most significant pressure on the GAB. Coastal ecosystems play a vital role for the Great Barrier Reef. Extensive areas of habitats that support the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem have been in filled, modified or cleared. This loss of coastal habitats is concerning as they are important feeding and breeding grounds for marine species and sediments traps and nutrient filters for water entering the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (SPAM) is a partner in the Australian and Queensland government’s commitment to the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan). This plan aims to stop and reverse the decline in the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. The SPAM prepared Water Quality Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which recognize ‘trigger’ levels for managers to take action if conditions surpass them The development of traditional and contemporary management strategies over past years has been evident.
Sustainable practices engaged in by both the Indigenous people and Marine park zoning set up by the SPAM are both strategies to be used as they ensure a strong, sustainable and healthy ecosystem for generations to come. The techniques practiced by the Indigenous Australians centered on the important value of stewardship. The management strategies utilized by the Indigenous peoples proved successful and sustainable, as the tenuous and delicate reef has survived.
A combination of contemporary and traditional strategies has been employed by the SPAM, enabling them to protect the reef ecosystem. Education of tourists on the vulnerability of the ecosystem, scientific research into the possibilities the reef has to offer and learning about how to care for this vital ecosystem are all factors showing the effectiveness of the SPAM management, conserving the GAB is very important, as it possesses resources that can be used in vast areas and also provides a habitat the privilege of visiting it.