GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
The overall risk associated with coastal development has increased since 2009 because the implications and extent of several key threats (for example modifications to coastal habitats) are now better understood. However, the effectiveness of management in relation to coastal development has not improved overall (see Section 7.3.10). The overall risk associated with direct use is medium – noting that, as in 2009, fishing stands out as being associated with several threats considered to be high and very high risk. Increased management attention to the remaining impacts of fishing has not yet significantly reduced risk levels (though understanding has improved). There have been reductions in resourcing for fisheries management with flow-on effects on monitoring and reporting. Trawling is known to present significant risks for deep-water skates, several rays and sea snakes, and there is the capacity for trawl activity to increase under existing management arrangements. Additionally, an increase in coastal population and changing demographics could lead to increased risk from recreational fishing, especially given recent information on non-compliance rates (see Section 5.4.3). Port activities are the largest contributor to dredging and disposal of dredge material in the Region (with tourism developments usually a smaller contributor). Proposals to dispose of dredge material on the seafloor are projected to increase with continued port development. The consequences for biodiversity and some heritage values within the footprint of dredging sites are serious and possibly irreversible. There is emerging concern that resuspension of sediment could affect the condition of values over a broad scale and long timeframes (see Section 5.5), adding further pressure to already declining inshore ecosystems and affecting aesthetic beauty and cultural practices.
Management is least effective for some of the highest risk areas.
Figure 9.5 Management effectiveness, impacts and risk associated with factors influencing the Region’s values
Impact grades (Chapters 5 and 6), the effectiveness of current protection and management (Chapter 7), and overarching risk levels are shown for factors influencing the Region’s values, including for component activities of direct use. The influencing factors that present the highest overall risk to the Region’s values have their origins outside the Region. Higher risk also corresponds with uses and influencing factors that have both higher impact on values and weaker management effectiveness. The effectiveness of management was assessed in an independent assessment (based on the six elements: understanding of context; planning; financial, staffing and information inputs; management systems and processes; delivery of outputs and achievement of outcomes) — see Chapter 7 for a full discussion. The assessment of management effectiveness for the topic of climate change is only in relation to management measures undertaken specifically to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef.