Commercial and non-commercial use
5.10.2 Impacts of use on the Region’s values
Outlook Report 2009: Assessment summary The impacts of different uses of the Great Barrier Reef overlap and are concentrated inshore and next to developed areas. There are some concerns about localised impacts and effects on some species. In particular, species of conservation concern such as dugongs, some bony fish, sharks, seabirds and marine turtles are at risk, especially as a result of fishing, disturbance from increasing use of coastal habitats, illegal fishing, poaching and traditional use of marine resources. There is evidence that fishing is also significantly affecting the populations of some targeted species. The survival success of non-retained species is not well understood, nor are the ecosystem effects of fishing. Assessment grade and trend Confidence
Current summary and assessment components
Impacts of use: The impacts of different uses of the Great Barrier Reef overlap and are concentrated inshore, particularly next to developed areas. Some uses have only minor and localised effects, for example defence activities, research and educational activities, and traditional use. Cumulative effects of tourism and recreation activities are localised around popular locations. Port activities and their flow-on impacts are generally in areas that are already under pressure from an accumulation of impacts. There are concerns about overfishing of some fish stocks, and the effects of fishing on some species of conservation concern. The survival of non-retained species is Very low Low not monitored or well understood. impact impact Commercial marine tourism: Marine tourism extends throughout the Great Barrier Reef; its impacts are localised, mainly in a few intensively managed areas. Defence activities: Most defence activities occur within a limited area. The level of planning and resourcing for defence activities means incidents are rare. Fishing: Fishing occurs in many parts of the Region, extracting mostly predators and particle feeders. It can result in the entanglement and death of species of conservation concern, reductions of targeted species with implications on the food chain, and impact on Indigenous heritage values. The status of most targeted species and estimates of discarded catch are not well known. Fisheries management continues to improve; more can be done. Illegal fishing remains a concern. Not assessed Ports: Port activities have local adverse impacts, including from dredging and dredge material disposal. Understanding of the effects of dredging and disposal is improving; the cumulative effects are not well understood. Recreation (not including fishing): The impacts of recreation are mainly localised in inshore areas, particularly close to regional centres. Research and educational activities: Research and educational activities are concentrated around research stations; minor, localised effects are likely. Shipping: Despite an increase in shipping activity, impacts are relatively stable. Proactive management is addressing emerging risks. Ship grounding sites can take decades to recover. Traditional use of marine resources: Traditional hunting, fishing and collecting involves a range of marine species (some of conservation concern) but levels of take are considered sustainable. Poaching is being addressed. Grading statements Very low impact
The impacts of use are observable in some locations or on some values, but only to the extent that limited additional intervention would be required for the use to be sustainable.
High impact Very high impact Grade Trend
n n n
Trend since 2009
Any impacts attributable to use of the Region are minor and localised, with no observable effects on overall ecosystem function or heritage values.
The impacts of use are obvious in many locations or to many values to the extent that significant additional intervention would be required for the use to be sustainable.