Management responses to extreme weather
Coral reef managers are taking action to help the Great Barrier Reef recover from extreme weather during the summer of 2010-11, recognising there isn't always a human solution to a natural event.
Some of the key activities undertaken include:
- Expanding the Sightings Network to enable Reef users to help detect changes in movement patterns for key reef species like turtle and dugong
- Supporting a satellite tracking program to help understand dugong and turtle movements and feeding patterns in response to seagrass losses so that they can be better protected
- Expanding the Strandings Program to enable managers to better assess the extent and causes of dugong and turtle deaths
- Rebuilding tourism infrastructure on islands such as landing facilities, day use areas and walking tracks damaged by cyclone Yasi
- Revising fire management plans for islands where vegetation has been impacted by cyclone Yasi
- Replacing damaged reef protection markers and vessel moorings to ensure anchor damage is minimised around inshore reefs
- Removing debris and improving detection of invasive species for islands.
Being responsible out on the water
Educational material and best practices were used to remind people out on the water how they can protect dugong and green turtles following the 2010-11 summer of extreme weather.
"Go slow – lookout below" posters and information sheets were released to retail outlets, information centres and marinas, calling on boaties to watch for animals and to slow down when going over shallow water and seagrass beds or to avoid these areas.
The agency also encouraged fishers to voluntarily modify their practices to minimise the impacts on turtles and dugong by following these best practices:
- Being aware of any wildlife in the area and avoid netting if any marine turtles, dugong, dolphins or whales are sighted nearby
- Only using the minimum amount of fishing apparatus necessary (e.g. shorter lengths of net or shorter drop - appropriate to the depth of water the net is intended to work in)
- Always actively attending your net
- Keeping set times for nets as short as possible
- Releasing any incidentally caught animals or fish as quickly and appropriately as possible
- Reporting any interactions with Species of Conservation Interest in SOCI logbooks
- Call the Stranding Hotline on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) to report a sick or dead marine turtles, dugong, dolphins or whales with details of the location of the sighting, what animal it is (if known), and whether it is dead or alive.
If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.
The Great Barrier Reef is a hive of activity. If you're lucky enough to see a humpback whale from May to September, make sure you keep a safe distance.
We're delighted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park's World Heritage listing.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing plants, animals and habitats. There are a range of tourism experiences on offer.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this Great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL
(1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.