Monday, August 20, 2007

Great Barrier Reef: The Bad News And The Worse News

Tourism to the Great Barrier Reef is up, which may be great news for places like Cairns and Townsville and Rockhampton in Queensland who share in the $5 Billion annually generated by tourism, but it's definitely destroying the reef.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIn the very near future all tourism to the Reef itself may have to be banned to protect it; that is if the pollution doesn't destroy it first. Currently only part of the region is protected by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Of course, the first tourist to impinge upon the purity of the region was Captain James Cook, whose ship Endeavour ran aground here on June 11th, 1770. But casual boaters and day-trippers have been known to do their share. Already one-third of the reef has been closed to harvesting.

I have no doubt that the Great Barrier Reef will outlive me, and there may even be a happy ending to the story. But happy endings in real life involve the efforts of millions, and may fail despite their best efforts. In the meantime, it is incumbent upon aquariums to have well-stocked saltwater tanks, so that many people can experience the glory of living coral without running the risk of killing it in the wild.
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Seumas Gagne said...

In addition to 1) coral intrinsic value as a living thing and 2) the uplifting quality for other creatures of its beauty, if coral reefs die back much further coastal communities are going to be super-screwed. Coral protects the shoreline from storms and erosion. We really depend on the little blighters!

michael sean morris said...

I think coral is one of my favourite kinds of animal. I just hate to think that we'll be reduced to watching "Finding Nemo" for a fix.

Although "Finding Nemo" rocks.