GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
Mackay, Port of Abbot Point and Port of Townsville. The aim is to maximise efficiencies and economic outcomes, while minimising environmental impacts. There is also a commitment to prohibit capital dredging for the development of any additional deepwater port facilities outside of the long-established major port areas until 2024. Recreational use (not including fishing) The number of recreational visits from residents in the catchment appears to have risen substantially in recent years, most likely as a result of: population growth, an increase in the proportion of the population visiting the Region and a rise in the average number of visits each person makes.309 Continuing increases in the population in coastal areas adjacent to the Region and in the number of recreational vessels21 are likely to result in continued growth in recreational use. In addition, access to more isolated locations has been improved by developments in vessel safety and navigational technology. Research and educational activities The Region is likely to continue to be an area of high scientific interest because of its ecological diversity, geomorphology and cultural heritage. Research will continue to make a substantial contribution to the way the Reef is understood, managed and used over coming decades. Technological changes are likely to continue to change both the way research and monitoring are conducted and the analysis of its results. Continuing and expanding monitoring will play a key role in tracking trends in the Region’s values, the factors that are influencing them and the effectiveness of management actions. Shipping The number of ship voyages undertaken through the Region has increased substantially over the past 10 years. Shipping in the Region is predicted to significantly increase over the next 10 to 15 years, with the number of vessel calls forecast to more than double by 2032.310 This will be driven mainly by growth in the mining and liquefied natural gas industry which subsequently drive port expansions and increases in trade.154 Traditional use of marine resources Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreements and a marine Indigenous Land Use Agreement apply to approximately 13 per cent of the Region. This is likely to increase into the future given that additional Traditional Owner groups are working to develop agreements. With increased development in remote areas and changes to infrastructure, there is potential for the level and type of traditional use along the coast to change.
Use of the Region for recreation is likely to increase with population growth
© Susan Sobtzick
6.6.2 Vulnerability of the ecosystem to direct use
Since the Outlook Report 2009, understanding of the threats associated with direct use has improved as has knowledge of some of their cumulative effects on the Region’s values. For example, recent modelling indicates that dredged material disposed at sea may be travelling further than previously expected.311 There is also better understanding of the risks of trawl fishing in the Region showing that, while the risks are generally low, some higher risks remain.312 Except for activities associated with fishing and ports, direct uses of the Region are likely to be having relatively minor effects on the ecosystem on a Reef-wide scale. However, their cumulative effects can be significant on a local scale, especially when concentrated inshore and next to developed areas. Some uses continue to have positive benefits through improving understanding about the ecosystem and contributing to management.
Understanding of threats from direct use has improved.