GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
would depend on the species introduced. Some species can be affected by artificial light around vessels, for example pelagic fishes.322 A range of wildlife is vulnerable to marine debris, particularly plastics. They can become entangled in the debris or ingest it, potentially leading to choking, starving or absorbing leached chemicals.295,323,324,325,326 Plastic makes up about 90 per cent of the marine debris ingested by marine turtles in Queensland.299 Sound is extremely important to many marine animals, and increased underwater noise has been shown elsewhere to have a range of potential effects, including behavioural changes, hearing loss, physical injury and mortality.327
6.6.3 Vulnerability of heritage values to direct use
Indigenous heritage values and cultural practices as well as natural heritage values and world heritage attributes relating to Traditional Owners’ interaction with the environment are severely affected by the declines in culturally significant species, partly attributable to past and present use of the Region. Examples of these species include dugongs, marine turtles, sea snakes, sharks, rays, some fish species, crayfish, oysters and clams. To varying degrees, these species are vulnerable to being injured or dying as incidental catch in fishing activities; direct extraction through commercial and recreational fishing; illegal fishing and poaching; vessel strike on wildlife; wildlife disturbance; and ingestion and entanglement in marine debris. Cultural practices, the continuation of many types of Indigenous heritage values, and world heritage attributes relating to Traditional Owners’ interaction with the environment are vulnerable to increases in incompatible use in the Region, such as where other activities conflict with Traditional Owner cultural use of marine resources in the sea country areas where they express their native title rights.328 The lack of identification and management for many underwater wrecks and Indigenous sites of significance, story places and songlines makes them vulnerable to activities that cause damage to reef structures, damage to the seafloor or modify coastal habitats. The aesthetic value of seascapes and islands may be diminished as a result of marine debris and spills.329 Attributes such as tranquillity, solitude and remoteness are affected by artificial light and noise pollution329, including that arising from vessel activity and in anchorage areas320. The vulnerability of those attributes that make up the world heritage property’s outstanding universal value matches that described for the ecosystem (Section 6.6.2) and for Indigenous heritage values and aesthetics above.
Indigenous heritage values are vulnerable to depletions in culturally significant species and incompatible uses.
6.6.4 Implications of direct use for regional communities