Published: Friday, 03 June 2016

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) confirmed to Superyacht Australia at the recent ASMEX conference May 17-18 at Sanctuary Cove in Queensland that superyachts cruising the Great Barrier Reef are not in any way causing coral bleaching. 

Australian Authority Claims Little Harm From Yachts To Great Barrier Reef 2

GBRMPA General Manager Simon Banks provided a presentation in the conference on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) with a lot of misinformation regarding superyachts. He assured the global superyacht fleet that superyachts are welcome in the Great Barrier Reef.

Superyacht Australia is currently working with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to gain greater access for superyachts to the iconic heritage area and GBRMPA is keen to work with the industry to ensure Owners to have the best possible experience when cruising in the Whitsundays.

Australian Authority Claims Little Harm From Yachts To Great Barrier Reef 1

“The southern regions of the GBR have experienced minimal impact from this natural event. We strongly encourage all visiting yachts to come and experience our beautiful cruising grounds along the GBR. The marinas in this region will go above and beyond to ensure visiting superyachts to have the best experience possible,” says Superyacht Australia CEO MaryAnne Edwards. 

Facts about coral bleaching mentioned in the conference: 

 - Mass coral bleaching is caused by prolonged exposure to heat stress. The underlying driver of the heat stress is climate change, which is causing our oceans to warm. In addition, this year’s strong El Niño meant there was little monsoon activity over the summer, which would normally have given corals some respite from the heat stress.

 - While bleaching is a clear sign of stress, it doesn’t mean all affected corals will die. 93 per cent of the GBR is not dead.

 - Bleaching on the Reef is widespread, but not uniform in its severity. The most severe bleaching occurred at the far northern reaches of the GBR, well away from the major superyacht destinations and population centres.

Australian Authority Claims Little Harm From Yachts To Great Barrier Reef

 - The most immediate way to help the Reef recover from this serious occurrence of bleaching is to reduce local, regional and catchment-wide stressors. Creating the right conditions will support the natural capacity of corals to bounce back. The ecosystem’s capacity to recover from disturbances was demonstrated in new data released this year by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, which found a near doubling of coral cover in the Reef’s southern sector between 2012 and 2015.  

 - The single biggest thing we can all do to protect the GBR is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 - Another key measure is to improve water quality by reducing fertilisers, sediments and pesticides entering the Reef through catchment waterways. Thousands of farmers and graziers are already engaged in this task.

 - As a practical measure to protect existing coral cover, GBRMPA will continue its efforts to cull the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

Further information regarding this issue is detailed on the GBRMPA website: