The ocean is the heart of our planet. It connects people from all over the world, produces oxygen, feeds hundreds of millions, and is home to an amazing array of marine animals and plants. World Oceans Day on June 8th is an opportune time for us to reflect upon the…

WORLD OCEANS DAY: HOW YOU CAN HELP PROTECT OUR OCEANS AND REEF

The ocean is the heart of our planet. It connects people from all over the world, produces oxygen, feeds hundreds of millions, and is home to an amazing array of marine animals and plants.

World Oceans Day on June 8th is an opportune time for us to reflect upon the importance of our oceans and take action to protect them, as they help sustain our entire planet.

This year’s theme is, ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet’ with a special emphasis on stopping plastic pollution.

Daydream Island Living Reef Manager and marine biologist John Gaskell said that plastic pollution is a serious threat as it degrades very slowly polluting waterways for a very long time and impacting on the health of marine animals.

“Millions of tonnes of rubbish are entering our oceans each year,” Mr Gaskell said. “Plastic breaks down into smaller pieces and is easily ingested by marine animals and mistaken for food by seabirds.

“This is truly a problem worldwide but we can all play our own part in tackling marine debris.

“Here are just some ways you can get involved in protecting our oceans and in particular our own iconic Great Barrier Reef”:

Eyes wide open: join the Eye on the Reef program – the brainchild of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) – this environmental monitoring and assessment program enables anyone who visits the reef to play an active part in its long-term protection. All assistance is invaluable – whether you have five minutes to spare or can commit to regular surveys – to help build a broader picture of reef-wide ecosystem health and resilience. For those with more time on their hands, online training packages have been developed for Rapid Monitoring Survey and Reef Health and Impact Surveys. Alternatively, simply download a smartphone app to send in real-time sightings of marine animals, reef health and incidents.

Dive right in: Reef Check Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, works to protect reefs and oceans by empowering and engaging the community in hands-on research and education. Volunteers can literally dive in and train to become a coral reef surveyor (snorkeling or diving).

Did you know? A World Economic Forum report, released January 2016, estimates the ocean currently holds more than 150 million tonnes of plastics and warns that in a business-as-usual scenario it will contain more plastics than fish by 2050. The theme for World Oceans Day 2016 (8 June) is preventing plastics pollution.

Roll up your sleeves: Tangaroa Blue Foundation coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, offering plenty of opportunities to join beach clean-ups. Plus, Nature Wise Eco Escapes, a not-for-profit tour operator owned by Conservation Volunteers Australia, runs marine debris voluntours.

Calling intrepid explorers: international environmental charity, Earthwatch, connects individuals from all walks of life with world-class scientists. In 2016, Recovery of the Great Barrier Reef expeditions are scheduled to help scientists unravel the mystery of coral reef disease, based on Orpheus Island.

CoTS-what? Since 2010, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) has been working with unemployed youth, training them as recreational dive supervisors in the Crown of Thorns Starfish (CoTS) control program (operated through a contractual agreement with GBRMPA). The association also trains tourism operators and community-based organisations to search and lethally inject the coral-eating starfish, responsible for an estimated 40 per cent of the reef’s total decline in coral cover.

Did you know? QUT roboticists are close to completing work on a world-first autonomous marine robot – aptly named COTSbot – designed to cruise the Great Barrier Reef with one purpose: to seek out and control infestations of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. It commenced trials in September 2015.

[List compiled by Shelley Thomas for Tourism and Events Queensland]

There’s no other island quite like Daydream, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With a fringing reef a mere flipper’s kick from the beach and a Living Reef on the island itself, it’s an incredible place to not only live and learn about one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, but to experience it first hand.

Receive Exclusive Offers and the Latest News