Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-29-2016 Thread Starter
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Exclamation Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

It looks like those of you that always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef, may have waited too long...

Australia's Great Barrier Reef hit by 'worst' bleaching - BBC News
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-29-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

Not sure that a "like" is appropriate but yes this is most unfortunate and quite sad.
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

"thanks"

...and thanks for the like!


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post #4 of 14 Old 03-29-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

There's problems with reefs worldwide...

Longest Coral Bleaching Event On Record Hammering Reefs
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-29-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

It's an El Nino year that has had unusually warm weather and a virtually non existent wet season. Similar events occurred in '98. Whilst bleaching can be caused by both too warm and too cool waters, it seems that sediment run-off from the land is also a driving factor.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-31-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

I was there (Queensland) a few years back - land-based. You had to motor out for 1-2 hours to get to a halfway decent dive site (and I mean halfway decent, not great). I asked the locals and they said the inshore coral had been destroyed by agricultural runoff (nitrates and pesticides).

Much of the remainder of the reef was weakened, not destroyed. Ocean acidification is clearly having an impact, as well as (in some areas) pollutants dumped in the water - although some government action has been taken to reduce this.

And then, of course, there is the Crown of Thorns starfish which continues to do tremendous damage, and is a sadly familiar sight to a bubblehead like me (scuba diver)

I'm just scratching the surface - it's a complex problem, with no single root cause, but right now it seems like the perfect storm for many coral reefs worldwide.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-31-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul323 View Post
I was there (Queensland) a few years back - land-based. You had to motor out for 1-2 hours to get to a halfway decent dive site (and I mean halfway decent, not great). I asked the locals and they said the inshore coral had been destroyed by agricultural runoff (nitrates and pesticides).

Much of the remainder of the reef was weakened, not destroyed. Ocean acidification is clearly having an impact, as well as (in some areas) pollutants dumped in the water - although some government action has been taken to reduce this.

And then, of course, there is the Crown of Thorns starfish which continues to do tremendous damage, and is a sadly familiar sight to a bubblehead like me (scuba diver)

I'm just scratching the surface - it's a complex problem, with no single root cause, but right now it seems like the perfect storm for many coral reefs worldwide.
I blame tourists for a lot of damage. Here's the test: If the fish are friendly, you can bet the coral will be trampled and in a poor state. If the fish are timid the coral is generally pristine. Having said that, tourists only descend en masse on a very small fraction of the reef overall. As for needing to go a long way offshore, that's because for most of the reef's length the "true" reefs are quite a way off shore. There are, however, many areas of healthy reef available to tourists a short run from the mainland in many places.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-31-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReefMagnet View Post
I blame tourists for a lot of damage. Here's the test: If the fish are friendly, you can bet the coral will be trampled and in a poor state. If the fish are timid the coral is generally pristine. Having said that, tourists only descend en masse on a very small fraction of the reef overall. As for needing to go a long way offshore, that's because for most of the reef's length the "true" reefs are quite a way off shore. There are, however, many areas of healthy reef available to tourists a short run from the mainland in many places.
That's not too far off the mark.

As kids growing up in FNQ in the '70s we enjoyed scaring tourists that enjoyed "reef-walking" (that's wandering around on top of the reef at low tide, picking up shells and stuff - and is generally discouraged now) a.k.a. "reef-destroying" by telling them stories about all the nasties out there waiting to wound, main or kill them:
- Stonefish (step on one and you'll regret your visit for the rest of your life)
- Stinging coral (lives up it it's name)
- Blue-ringed octopus (venomous)
- Cone shells (will fire a venomous dart at you even out of the water)
- Giant clams (waiting to grab you and hold you until the tide comes back in)
- Moray eels (don't stick your hand in that crevice there - you'll have no fingers left!)

"Hey, look! It's a (totally harmless black-tipped reef) SHARK!!" "Quick, get out of the water.. he's going to eat you!!"

Yep, those were the days!

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Last edited by Classic30; 03-31-2016 at 09:19 PM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-02-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

Corals have been getting bleached around the world from time immemorial. Most recover and whilst I haven't done the research I'm sure that GBR has been through this before.

I sailed to Seychelles in 2003 - they had a very warm El Niño in 1998 that all but wiped out the coral. Much of the damage was to the inner islands that were located on the Seychelles Bank. The shallower waters exacerbate the El Niño effect with waters even warmer than other deeper-water areas. Mauritius for example lies in much deeper water and wasn't nearly as badly effected.

Seychelles coral is now recovering to some extent (some reefs are not) albeit 16 years later but surely that is evidence that GBR should not be relegated to the annals of history.

Unless of course man-made conditions prevail and recovery is thereby prevented . . .


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post #10 of 14 Old 04-02-2016
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Re: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is dying.

Exactly. The peanut gallery swallowing the "reef is dying" tabloid headlines hook, line and sinker should dig a little deeper in their research.

E.g.

http://www.aims.gov.au/reef-monitori...n-sectors-2015

On the topic of the current bleaching event, the primary cause is a few months of high SST'S caused by a combination of weather patterns and conditions. Whilst climate change may have some influence, it is not the root cause of the problem which makes CC related discussion in this thread irrelevant.

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/media-room/...t-barrier-reef

Just remember folks, news organisations sell stories. Which can be fact or fiction or anywhere in between.
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