GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
A range of academic institutions and government agencies undertake research about the Great Barrier Reef, providing income and employment in regional communities. Major institutions include Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, James Cook University, Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland, and the Australian Museum. Knowledge derived from research related to the Region has supported management including informing development of Water Quality Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef131, evaluating the effectiveness of the 2004 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park rezoning132, and redefining the baseline condition of healthy inshore reefs133. In addition, a long-term social and economic monitoring program is being developed and implemented.134
5.7.3 Impacts of research and educational activities
The concentration of research and educational activities around research stations has the potential to locally deplete some species, disturb wildlife and cause some minor, localised physical damage to habitats. Little is known about the cumulative impacts of research and educational activities at any particular location; however, given the scale of activities, overall impacts are likely to have only localised effects.
Research and educational activities are concentrated around research stations; minor, localised effects are likely.
5.8.1 Current state and trends of shipping
Thousands of domestic and international ships transit the Region every year, carrying export goods, servicing coastal and inland communities and transporting passengers. Shipping, as described in this report, includes vessels greater than 50 metres in overall length or carrying specialised product regardless of length (for example, oil tankers, chemical or liquefied gas carriers). It includes cruise ships and super yachts. Shipping use of the Region has increased substantially since 2000 (Figure 5.23), driven mainly by industrial and mining activity. Based on information from the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait vessel traffic service (REEFVTS), there were 9619 ship voyages through the Region in 2012–13.135 This was an increase of about two per cent on the 9403 voyages in 2011–12 (the first year of the extended vessel tracking service). The profile of the ship fleet visiting the Region is changing, with the number of individual ships increasing by an average of 3.4 per cent per annum from 2008–09 to 2012–13 and average carrying capacity rising by four per cent per annum over the same period.135 Based on projected export capacities, information from existing development proposals and predictions for the Region’s four major ports, the number of vessel calls to ports adjacent to the Region is forecast to increase by about 250 per cent over the next 20 years136 (Figure 5.24). This is likely to be driven by growth in the mining and liquefied natural gas industry, port expansions and increases in trade.94 There is also a global trend towards longer, deeper draft ships.137
Worldwide, ships are becoming longer with deeper drafts