Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 11th, 2012 class

Conservation History on the Great Barrier Reef:

The Great Barrier Reef = GBR
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Why was rezoning of GBR necessary?
Representative Areas Program (RAP) (only part of solution)
Phase 1 and 2
Final zoning plan
Implementation phase
Other actions
Reef Water Quality Plan
Reducing fishing and policing

The Great Barrier Reef = GBR
345,000 km2
> 2000 km long
2900 separate reefs
> 900 islands

Formation of the Park
Late 1960’s – early 1970’s—much agitation for a park, reinforced by plans to mine Ellison Reef (off Innisfail)
Politicians promised that the GBR should be protected as a Park
Park established in 1975, under Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act (Federal Parliament Act)
Park boundaries are non-negotiable, can only be changed by Act of Parliament
No mining within the Park
Development & implementation of zoning plans is a Federal responsibility
Day to day management is the responsibility of Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service
Zoning Plans
First areas to be zoned Capricorn and Bunker, finished in 1977
Subsequently the other regions were zoned
Zoning plans reviewed at regular intervals, with public participation, and plans changed over time and even the type of zones changed

Based in Townsville
Responsible to Minister for Science
Issues permits and licences, including those for scientific research
GBR declared World Heritage Area in 1981— such listing requires regular report card to ensure the reef is being maintained

During the 1990’s
Increasing use of the reef by tourists
Increased scientific knowledge of the reef
Increasing awareness of the connectivity of reefs (mass spawning)
Increasing evidence of decline of some habitats, especially inshore
The Great Barrier Reef Is ‘Under Pressure’

Downstream effects of land use (water quality issues)
Coral bleaching
Coastal developments
Increasing fishing effort and impacts
Shipping & pollution incidents
Increasing tourism and recreation
Trends in Regional Biodiversity Are Negative
Fishing effort increasing substantially in intensity & spatial extent (coral trout fishery—effort x2 since 1995; shark catch x5 since 1991)
Turtles–all 6 species threatened; 2 are endangered (Loggerhead and Olive Ridley)
Dugong population south of Cooktown has declined >90% since mid-1980’s
Humpbacks listed as vulnerable; other cetaceans (Irrawaddy & Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphins) listed as rare
Trends for most species unknown
GBR Is Not Isolated From World Trends
10% of world’s reefs destroyed or severely degraded
58% of world’s reefs potentially threatened
70% reefs already degraded in Indonesia & Philippines
On current trends 70% of the world’s reefs will have gone in 40 years
Minimising the
Downstream effects of land use ==> Reef Water Quality Action Plan (results not immediate)
Coastal developments ==> Aquaculture Regs; GBRMP permit requirements
Increasing fishing effort and impacts ==> Queensland FS fisheries management plans (ECTMP, Reef Line)
Minimising the
Shipping & pollution incidents ==> Australia Marine Shipping Authority shipping review, compulsory pilotage, mandatory reporting, etc
Increasing tourism and recreation ==> PoMs; new tourism framework
Threatened species ==> new policies; species recovery plans; seasonal closures, RAP
Protecting biodiversity ==> RAP
Why was rezoning of the GBR necessary?

Queenslanders depend on the GBR
Important for economy—tourism, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, shipping
Important for Traditional Owners—connection with Sea Country
Important for communities—relaxation, lifestyles
>90% Australians (including Queenslanders) wanted more no-take zones
Important for building knowledge—education, research
Better protection = insurance for all these values

Connectivity in the GBR

An overview of RAP
Representative examples of the entire diversity of habitats protected
RAP reviewed the existing zoning of the Marine Park
RAP attempted to minimise negative impacts for users and stakeholders while aiming to achieve protection of biodiversity
RAP has meant an increase in Green Zones to protect biodiversity
RAP is a crucial part of the solution to a complex problem

Other Issues Addressed During Rezoning
Some current zoning plans had been in existence for 16 years
Ensured consistent zone names and zone provisions throughout GBR
Coastal areas zoned for first time
Clearer delineation of zone boundaries (GPS co-ordinates)

Developing the Zoning Plan
The Zoning Plan was developed using environmental, economic, and social information
Clear Principles on how to use the environmental and social information were followed
These principles were set out in the first round of community participation (CP1)
Environmental Information
Bioregions were mapped between 1999 and 2002 using expert knowledge and best available data and methods
30 reef bioregions 40 non-reef bioregions
Many bioregions previously lacked adequate protection
At least 20% of each bioregion included in a no-take zone
The GBR Marine Park

Non reef bioregions

Environmental Information
Other key issues:

Special and unique places
Critical habitats such as turtle nesting sites
Deep & shallow water sea-grass, fish spawning sites etc.

Special and unique places
Critical turtle nesting areas
Environmental Information
Biophysical Principles guided selection and use of environmental information
The Principles :
were developed by independent reef scientists
published in CP1
said that at least 20% of each bioregion had to be in no-take zones
No-take zones must be
arranged to form viable network, allowing connectivity, provides insurance policy

Social & Economic Information
Recreational fishing diaries, and tag and release records
Commercial fishing log-books
The location of boat-ramps and coastal developments
Historic ship-wrecks
Visitor use data

Over 10,000 submissions received in Phase 1 & >21,000 in Phase 2
All submissions read to identify community issues
All submissions were taken into account
Recreational fishing sites
Commercial fishing values
Using Social Information
Social, Economic, Cultural and Management Principles were:
developed by an independent panel of experts
published in Community Phase 1

The SEC Principles attempted to
minimise impact on existing users of the Marine Park
be fair—ie not impacting on one group or community more than another
but needed a Zoning plan easy to enforce
Previous Zoning
Previous Zoning, plus Trawl Plans
New green zones—environmental data only
Green zones—using economic data too
Green zones—revising boundaries
The Plan
What Does This Plan Do?
Provides strong, medium and long-term protection for future generations
Green zones mean more and bigger fish
Green zone spill-over, better fishing for reef communities
Natural values which attracts tourists and $ will be maintained
Protects at least 20% of each bioregion, special and unique areas, important habitats, and nesting areas—over 33% achieved

Phases of RAP
Classification (map biodiversity)
Reviewed existing protection
informal consultation with user groups
formal Community Participation phase 1
Identification of possible network options
Selection of most acceptable network
Draft zoning plan
formal Community Participation phase 2 (over 21,000 submissions)
Ministerial & parliamentary approval March 2004
Implemented July 1st 2004

Representative Areas Program
A new and effective network of ‘no-take’ areas representative of all bioregions helps to:
maintain biological diversity
maintain ecological processes and systems
provide an ecological safety margin, and if necessary, enable species and habitats to recover
ensure viable and sustainable industries
Current Status
Distribution of information and many maps to fishers, tourist operators, dive, boat and bait shops
Revised maps at boat ramps
Sorting out current permits in relation to new zoning, research stations issuing permits
Working with GPS manufacturers to incorporate zoning plans into charts, some available
Website available to download zoning plans for particular areas of interest

Related Activities
Reef Water Quality Protection Plan-implemented
Fisheries related: Reduction of number of fishing boats
Reduction in areas where trawling allowed
compensation being paid
Increased surveillance, penalties imposed
Dugong protected areas and reduce netting areas
Qld zoned adjacent coastal parks
Recognition of RAP
Authority awarded a Eureka Prize for Biodiversity Research and Banksia Environmental Award
WWF Australia acknowledges its importance for conserving biodiversity
Recognition overseas of importance of this approach to marine park management
Best practise
Relevance to Other Areas
Zoning with scientific basis
Problems facing the GBR faced by all reefal areas
Methods for zoning multi-use parks relevant to all areas in Australia and elsewhere
Such community involvement results in ownership and stewardship of the reef– schools adopting reefs, communities becoming effective policers
Other Management Strategies
Reef Water Quality Protection Plan
being implemented but ongoing and results will take years to be apparent
Reduction in number of fishing licences, compensation being paid
Increasing policing and enforcement
Global warming— the big question
increased rates of bleaching
increased cyclones activity
What is the long term future for the GBR?

Points to consider for Okinawa/Ryukyu Islands:
Only three major governments (National, 2 Prefectural).
However, management is very ambiguous.
Local fisheries have strong power; no no-take zones anywhere in Japan, aquaculture common.
Competing interests within national government have different agendas (Construction, Environment).
National laws for parks weak.
Okinawa Prefecture likely has strong wishes, but needs money from National government.

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