One of the chief challenges in protecting the Great Barrier Reef is its sheer, mind-boggling size. At 348,700 square kilometres, it places in between Italy and Japan for area. The available resources to protect (and restore) this massive system have to be directed to where they are most needed in order to have the best possible effect.

Professor Peter Mumby at the University of Queensland is leading a NESP TWQ project to develop a guidance system for ‘resilience-based management’ on the Great Barrier Reef and will discuss the concept in a presentation to the Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium.

The project will map dynamic changes to the state of the Great Barrier Reef (particularly after major disturbances like cyclones or crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks); its ecological, social, cultural, and economic values, with the aim of being able to guide management responses (such as crown-of-thorns starfish control, fishing restrictions and anchoring restrictions) to where they will be most effective.

Dr Scott Condie at CSIRO is assisting on the project and said prioritizing management efforts was critical to helping protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef.

“The key thing to consider here going forward is that if we continue to see the Great Barrier Reef under pressure, we need to be able to target our resources,” he said.

“There’s over 3000 individual reefs and we can’t do everything everywhere all the time.

“The research is at a fairly early stage of development at the moment but if we bring together all the relevant data in the same place and gain an idea which area is likely to be resistant to various pressures and which areas are likely to be more vulnerable, and importantly be able to update that information after changing events like cyclones or mass bleaching or crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, we can better guide the efforts to address that damage.”

Peter will speak on Wednesday 18th July at 14.15 pm in the Urchins Ballroom.




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