The health of the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs around the world are suffering from the combined effects of back-to-back coral bleaching, pollution, storm damage, outbreaks of pests like Crown-of-Thorns Starfish and many other threats.

As these pressures continue to increase, so does the need for intervention strategies to actively repair damage to reef systems and boost their resilience to future threats.

The Tropical Water Quality Hub will host a Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns on 16-19 July 2018 to discuss new and existing active interventions for restoration on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

Leading reef scientists including GBRMPA Chief Scientist David Wachenfeld, Tom Moore from NOAA and Boze Hancock from The Nature Conservancy will speak at the three-day Great Barrier Reef Restoration Symposium, which will be hosted by the Tropical Water Quality Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).

The Symposium will also include a fourth day of field trips to the Great Barrier Reef to see conditions first-hand.

Active coral restoration projects are being increasingly trialled on reefs and on the Great Barrier Reef, including the Crown of Thorns Starfish Targeted Control Program and coral nurseries off Fitzroy Island near Cairns.

Tropical Water Quality Hub leader Prof Damien Burrows said the need for direct health interventions and restorations on the GBR was clearer than ever.

“Up until the back-to-back mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, management of the Great Barrier Reef was mainly based on preventative measures and regulations,” he said.

“Recently there has been a widespread realization that direct preventative and restorative intervention actions, even in the short term at a local scale, are needed.

“At the Symposium we are going to be discussing the best ways of doing this, including ways to step small-scale actions up to have large-scale results.

“The need for active intervention doesn’t, however, diminish the importance of reducing the main drivers of Great Barrier Reef health pressures such as climate change, pollution and overfishing and more. It’s vital that these efforts continue, especially in the long term.”

TWQ Hub is seeking abstracts for the Coral Restoration Symposium under three broad categories:

  • Presentations on existing coral restoration projects/techniques, focusing on both process and outcome
  • Presentations on developing social/political support for restoration, including accessing philanthropy, citizen science, building multidisciplinary teams and science communication
  • Presentations on concepts for new restoration ideas, including from the fields of engineering, oceanography, information technology and others. We want to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

More details and a submission tool can be found by visiting the Abstracts Submission page on the Tropical Water Quality Hub website.

The Symposium is being held in conjunction with partners including Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) and the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO).

The Tropical Water Quality Hub is part of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).


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