This month, a team of experts in biodiversity conservation and management (including three members of the conservation planning group) published a viewpoint article on ports and shipping in the Great Barrier Reef. The team identify the strengths and weaknesses in the current governance arrangements, and develop 13 principles that describe a course of action to minimise port and shipping impacts on biodiversity. The article is well timed to inform the Australian and Queensland Government’s comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone, due at the end of 2013. Alana Grech presented the article to packed rooms last week in Townsville at both the Queensland Coastal Conference and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

You can download the paper here, or  contact Alana Grech for a pdf of the article.

Grech, A., Bos, M., Brodie, J., Coles, R., Dale, A., Gilbert, R., Hamann, M., Marsh, H., Neil, K., Pressey, R.L., Rasheed, M.A., Sheaves, M., Smith, A., 2013. Guiding principles for the improved governance of port and shipping impacts in the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Pollution Bulletin 75, 8-20.

Abstract: The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region of Queensland, Australia, encompasses a complex and diverse array of tropical marine ecosystems of global significance. The region is also a World Heritage Area and largely within one of the world’s best managed marine protected areas. However, a recent World Heritage Committee report drew attention to serious governance problems associated with the management of ports and shipping. We review the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity in the GBR, and propose a series of guiding principles to improve the current governance arrangements. Implementing these principles will increase the capacity of decision makers to minimize the impacts of ports and shipping on biodiversity, and will provide certainty and clarity to port operators and developers. A ‘business as usual’ approach could lead to the GBR’s inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2014.

Leave a Reply