The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is conducting an extensive social study to determine what the Great Barrier Reef means to both locals and visitors.
CSIRO will ask 5,000 people over the next two months about their perceptions for the Great Barrier Reef. The survey will cover marine tourism, traditional owners, ports and shipping, aquaculture, mining, residents and coastal communities.
“It’s the first time personal thoughts and feelings about the reef are being comprehensively collected,” explained CSIRO social scientist and project lead Dr. Nadine Marshall. “Years of data exist on the economic, ecological and environmental dimensions of the reef and now we’re closing the loop and including the hardest dimension of all – people.”
The data will help decision-makers, including reef managers, business owners and government officials, understand the role that people will play in the Great Barrier Reef’s future.
The study was announced on the same day that the UNESCO conference to discuss the status of new and existing World Heritage sites began in Cambodia. At the meeting, it will be decided if the Great Barrier Reef should be placed on the “in danger” list.
The Great Barrier Reef faces threats from the “significant loss” of coral cover, the effects of climate change and crown of thorns starfish but despite those problems, a preliminary report recommends that the decision be postponed for another year while improvements are made.
“It’ll be presumptuous to say what the world heritage committee will decide but I’m confident that we have evidence to show that Australia takes management of the reef seriously,” Burke told the Guardian.
To learn more:
- Read the release from CSIRO: What does the Great Barrier Reef mean to you?
- Check out the project details: Understanding our perceptions about the Great Barrier Reef
- Read about the UNESCO conference: Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef vies for UNESCO heritage listing
- Read the whole article from The Guardian: Great Barrier Reef on the brink as politicians bicker
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.