Responsible Reef Practices for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef by lindahy

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									Responsible Reef Practices for visitors to the
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park                                                                     May 2006



The Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park is a vast and beautiful area
enjoyed by thousands of visitors
every year. We can all play a role
in keeping the Great Barrier Reef
great by following some simple
practices when visiting the
Marine Park.

Anchoring and Mooring
Frequent anchoring at popular
sites can destroy fragile corals. To
help protect coral there are           • Use only as much chain as you      • Vacate a public mooring as soon
public moorings at many                  need to hold the vessel, without     as you can to allow access for
frequently visited sites. It is          compromising safety                  others.
mandatory to comply with
designated ‘no anchoring areas’        • Keep watch to make sure the        Bird Watching
in the Marine Park and coral             anchor isn’t dragging
                                                                            The Marine Park is home to
must not be damaged or                 • Motor towards the anchor when      thousands of seabirds. Many
removed. In the Cairns and               hauling it in                      islands are important breeding and
Hinchinbrook areas there are                                                nesting sites. To ensure the birds’
                                       • Use public moorings where
specific requirements for                                                   safety, some islands are specially
                                         available
anchoring vessels longer than 35                                            protected and some have seasonal
metres and, in the Cairns area,        • When picking up a mooring:         closures and speed restrictions. All
anchoring usually must be 50             - Motor into the wind toward       seabirds are protected in
metres from a mooring and 200              the buoy                         Queensland and it is illegal to take
metres from a pontoon.                                                      any birds or their eggs.
                                         - Avoid running over the pick-
• Examine the area before                  up line                          • Whenever possible keep well
  anchoring to find the best                                                  away from colonies of roosting
  location                               - Use a boat hook to retrieve
                                                                              or nesting seabirds or
                                           the pick-up line
• Anchor in sand or mud away                                                  shorebirds and always try not to
  from corals                            - Attach the line to a strong        disturb them
                                           point or bollard on the vessel
• Carry enough chain and line                                               • If you cannot avoid going near a
  for the depth you want to            • When using a public mooring,         colony, always keep a low
  anchor in                              read and follow the advice           profile
                                         given on an information disc
• Use the correct anchor for your                                           • When near birds, be quiet,
                                         attached to the pick-up line
  situation and environment                                                   avoid rapid or sudden
   movements, crouch low and         • Slow down to minimise the           studies show most divers cause
   use existing cover                  wake when approaching reef          little detectable damage to corals.
                                       edges, shorelines and beaches       Careful use of diving fins and
• Keep noise to a minimum and
                                                                           buoyancy control are critical.
  do not sound horns, sirens or      • Be considerate of others when
  loudspeakers                         motoring or anchoring near          • Check you are weighted
                                       them and match your activities        correctly before diving and
• If seabirds exhibit stressful
                                       to the setting around you             practise buoyancy control away
  behaviour, such as raucous
                                                                             from coral or reef animals
  calling or swooping, leave the     • Refuel onshore where possible,
  area immediately                     using the correct gear and          • Secure diving equipment such
                                       having cleanup equipment              as spare regulators and gauges
• Never try to touch birds,
                                       ready.                                to your body
  chicks or eggs
                                                                           • Move slowly and deliberately in
• Avoid using torches or bright      Collecting                              the water, relax and take your
  lights near or in bird colonies
                                     Collecting, by any means, of            time
• Take particular care at the        aquarium fish, shellfish and other    • Avoid leaning on, standing on,
  following sensitive times:         animals and plants, whether dead        holding onto or touching any
   - Late afternoon and early        or alive, must be conducted in          part of the reef and take extra
     evening                         accordance with the Zoning Plan         care when taking photographs
   - The hottest part of the day     and regulations. Collecting is          underwater
                                     allowed in the General Use Zone
   - Wet and/or cold weather                                               • Avoid touching anything with
                                     (light blue), Habitat Protection
                                                                             your fins and try not to disturb
   - Moonlit nights                  Zone (dark blue) and Conservation
                                                                             the sand
                                     Park Zone (yellow) and visitors
   - When eggs, naked or                                                   • Observe animals and do not
                                     may generally collect up to five of
     downy chicks are in their                                               touch, poke, handle, prod or
                                     any one species. To collect greater
     nests                                                                   chase them
                                     numbers, or to collect coral or
• Keep dogs well away from           protected species, requires a         • Do not disturb the environment
  seabirds and shorebirds.           specific Marine Parks permit. To        as all creatures play an important
                                     confirm what can and cannot be          role in the Marine Park.
Boating and Yachting                 taken, contact the Great Barrier
Visitors should always be alert      Reef Marine Park Authority.           Fishing
and careful when boating in the      • Look but don’t touch so plants      Zoning arrangements, bag and size
Marine Park. Vessel groundings         and animals are left for others     limits, tackle restrictions and
can damage large areas of corals       to enjoy                            seasonal closures are used to
and collisions with large marine     • Take only what you need and         ensure fishing is sustainable in the
creatures can injure or kill the       abide by official limits            Marine Park. Fishing is not
animal. In some popular areas,                                             allowed in the Marine National
there is a limit to the group size   • Return all unwanted specimens
                                       to the water carefully and          Park Zone (green), Scientific
you may take to bays and reefs.                                            Research Zone (orange) and
                                       quickly, preferably to the exact
• Be on the lookout for marine         location where you found them       Preservation Zone (pink). There
  animals and travel slowly in                                             are some requirements on the
  areas where they are known         • Treat all specimens humanely        amount of gear that can be used in
  to be present                        and carefully as handling some      other zones. Some fish species are
                                       specimens may be dangerous.         totally protected. Fresh fish parts
• Go slow near any islands and
  cays where seabirds are                                                  must not be discarded unless
                                     Diving and Snorkelling                caught in the Marine Park.
  nesting or roosting
                                     Scuba diving and snorkelling are      Discarding fishing line and tackle
• Check for nesting seabirds or                                            in the Marine Park is prohibited by
                                     the most popular ways to
  turtles before pulling your                                              law. Careful treatment and
                                     experience the Marine Park. Recent
  vessel onto the beach                                                    handling of fish caught maintains
the quality of fish and gives        Around Turtles                          • Be alert and watch for whales
released fish their best chance of                                             and dolphins at all times
                                     Turtles are often seen in the
survival.                                                                    • Slow down to minimise the risk
                                     Marine Park and come ashore at
• Study zoning maps for the          night to lay eggs. They are easily        of collision in areas where
  area you are visiting to ensure    disturbed by light, noise and             whales and dolphins have been
  fishing is allowed                 movement. By following some               sighted
• Take only what you need and        simple practices, it is possible to     • Avoid disturbing mother whales
  abide by possession and size       watch the females laying eggs and         and their calves, especially from
  limits                             the hatchlings emerging from the          May to September
                                     sand without disturbing them. All
• Return all undersized or           sea turtles are protected in            • Do not get in the water if you
  unwanted fish to the water         Queensland and it is illegal to take      see a whale, and if you are
  carefully and quickly              any turtles or their eggs.                already in the water do not
• If you intend keeping a fish,                                                disturb, chase or block the
                                     • Keep your distance from turtles,        whale and, if possible, return to
  remove it from the hook or net       allowing them to continue their
  quickly and kill it humanely                                                 your vessel
                                       normal activities
• Never feed bread, cooked                                                   • Be quiet when you are around a
                                     • Do not approach a turtle                whale or dolphin
  seafood or processed food to         emerging from the water or
  fish                                 moving up the beach                   • If there is a sudden change in
• Take all your rubbish home                                                   whale or dolphin behaviour,
                                     • Limit your use of light and             move away immediately.
  including line, tackle and bait      never shine lights directly onto
  bags.                                turtles
                                                                             Visiting Islands and Cays
                                     • Stay well clear of turtles nesting,
Motorised Water Sports                                                       In the Marine Park, most islands
                                       covering their nests or emerging
Visitors who are jet skiing,                                                 are carefully managed National
                                       hatchlings
parasailing and water skiing                                                 Parks. A permit from the
                                     • Do not touch, grab or lean on         Queensland Parks and Wildlife
should always look out for
                                       turtles, hatchlings or eggs and       Service is required to camp on all
wildlife and be considerate to
                                       allow hatchlings to dig               island National Parks. Generators
other users. To protect wildlife
                                       themselves out                        and compressors need a permit
and preserve a natural setting,
motorised water sport may not        • Avoid loud noise and sudden           and amplified sound is not
be undertaken in the Remote            movements.                            allowed. Zoning arrangements
Natural Area in the far north and                                            apply to the beaches and inshore
in some locations in the Cairns,     Around Whales and Dolphins              waters.
Hinchinbrook and Whitsundays                                                 • Check all gear for seeds, insects
                                     Some whale and dolphin species
Planning Areas.                                                                or vermin before landing
                                     live all year in our warm tropical
• Be considerate of other reef       waters and others migrate here          • Carry adequate communication
  users in the area                  each winter from the colder               equipment
• Stay a safe distance away from     southern oceans. They rely on our       • Be quiet around wildlife and
  people in the water                waters as a safe place to feed and        fellow visitors
                                     raise their young. It is particularly
• Be on the lookout for marine       important you keep well away            • Take your rubbish and any litter
  animals                            from whales and dolphins and              you find back to the mainland
• Go slow near islands and the       don't chase or disturb them. All        • Do not use detergents,
  coast, especially near popular     whales and dolphins in the Marine         toothpaste or soap in creeks,
  beaches and where seabirds         Park are protected and there are          streams or lakes and use only
  are nesting or roosting            strict rules to follow when you are       biodegradable products
                                     close to them. Check these at
• Stay away from shallow water                                               • Use gas or liquid spirit stoves
                                     www.gbrmpa.gov.au.
  near reefs.                                                                  for cooking
• Always use toilets where                chemicals for cleaning and                   than using a new disposable
  provided but if there are no            maintenance                                  plastic bag each time
  toilets, go at least 100 metres       • Use biodegradable toilet paper            • Keep your drains and gutters
  from campsites or water and                                                         free of chemicals and rubbish
  bury faeces at least 15 cm            • Break down petroleum
  deep                                    products in the bilge with                • Pick up litter and put it in the
                                          biodegradable detergents and                bin, recycle what you can
• Do not trample vegetation or            dispose of at recycling depots
  break branches from trees and                                                     • Wash your car on the lawn
                                          on shore                                    instead of in your driveway or
  shrubs
                                        • Keep engines clean and in good              on the street
• Do not touch or disturb                 condition and fix all leaks
  nesting seabirds or turtles and                                                   • Use compost to fertilise your
  avoid loud noise, strong lights       • Keep a well-maintained cleanup              garden, rather than shop-
  or sudden movements near                kit on your vessel                          bought fertilisers
  them.                                 • Secure all loose articles to              • Plant trees and groundcover
                                          prevent them blowing or falling             around your home, farm and
Waste, Chemicals and Litter               overboard                                   work area to capture rainwater,
Marine pollution, increasing            • Bring your rubbish and any                  and to minimise runoff and soil
nutrients and sedimentation in            litter you find back to the                 erosion
waterways that wash into the              mainland.                                 • Participate in local community
Marine Park has affected the                                                          clean up days.
                                        At Home
quality of water in the area.
                                        You can help protect the Marine             Want more information?
Visitors should ensure their
activities have a minimal effect        Park by taking some simple                  Go to ‘Onboard – The Tourism
by using environmentally                everyday actions at home, work or           Operator’s Handbook for the Great
friendly chemicals and disposing        school.                                     Barrier Reef’ available on our
of all forms of waste correctly.        • When you go shopping take                 website and view up-to-date
Discarding garbage, including             reusable shopping bags, rather            Responsible Reef Practices for
plastics, fishing nets and lines, oil                                               tourism.
products or chemicals within the
Marine Park is prohibited by law.
There are also special regulations            For Further Information
governing the discharge of                    Visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s website:
sewage. As these requirements                 www.gbrmpa.gov.au
may change from time to time,                 Visit or write to us:                         Call or send us a fax:
visitors should keep up-to-date at            2-68 Flinders Street                          Phone: +61 7 4750 0700
www.gbrmpa.gov.au.                            PO Box 1379 Townsville Qld 4810               Fax: +61 7 4772 6093
• Store all sewage in holding                 Australia
  tanks, if possible, and use                 Send an email: info@gbrmpa.gov.au
  pump-ashore facilities, where
  provided                                       Do your bit to look after it...
• If you must discharge sewage                   To report illegal activity or zoning related matters contact:
  at sea, do so in open water as                 Day-to-Day Management Coordination Unit:
  far as possible from reefs and                 +61 7 4726 0510 or +61 7 3830 8246 (24hr)
  islands
                                                 To report illegal fishing
• If there is no holding tank, do                Fishwatch: 1800 017 116
  not use toilets or urinate in the
                                                 To report sick, injured or dead animals or oil spills
  water when near reefs or in
                                                 EPA Hotline: 1300 130 372
  enclosed bays
• Use biodegradable and                          To report vessel collisions, groundings or oil spills
                                                                                                                         CE870




                                                 AMSA: 1800 641 792
  environmentally friendly

								
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