This series is about practical ways travelers can help make a positive impact on the areas they visit.
Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is an incredible experience you will never forgot. Spanning 2,500 kms. there are countless ways to enjoy Australias largest reef. Whether you are planning a scuba diving trip, a day of water sports, island hopping or bird watching, there are some important practices we can do to help keep the reef healthy. Here are a few tips to make sure your visit safeguards the reef for many generations to come.
Choose An Accredited Company
There are a few key signs to look for if you want to choose an eco-friendly company. Ecotourism Australia and EarthCheck both provide two levels of certification in which tour operators can commit to using sustainable practices and high quality tourism experiences. These companies are actively protecting the environment by adhering to safe practices and maintaining the high standard of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). You can see the list of approved operators on the GBRMPA website.
Follow The Responsible Reef Practices
There are some basic rules to follow when in the water, whether you are snorkelling or scuba diving, these few guideline will save not only the reef from harm but also yourself. Here are just a few points to remember while on the reef.
- Practice good scuba diving – have good buoyancy, be aware of your equipment and move slowly
- Avoid holding or touching any part of the reef, including corals and animals
- Observe animals like whales or turtles from a safe distance
- Enhance the quality of your dive experience by learning about the environment you’ll visit
- Don’t take anything from the reef including dead coral or shells
See the full list of responsible reef practices at GBRMPA.
Contribute To Citizen Science
As the reef is so large, it is quite a challenge for scientists to collect frequent information across the entire length of the reef, and that is where citizen science (and you!) come in. ‘Eye On The Reef’ is a way for every visitor to contribute towards the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef by recording animals sightings, reef health data and other valuable information. However you are enjoying the reef, you can join in with citizen science by downloading the Eye On The Reef app and start contributing immediately to data collection. You can submit locations of animal sightings, photos of what you have encountered like marine pollution or coral spawning and it can also help you to identify the wildlife you come across.
Fight For The Planet
The biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is climate change caused by humans. And this will only change with action. So start right now to help give the Great Barrier Reef a fighting chance of survival. So here are just a few things to do today for a better future.
- Make changes to your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint
- Commit to only taking one long haul flight per year
- Change your diet to include more local produce and less animal products
- Have your say at local council meetings and elections
- Vote with your money by researching companies sustainability pledges.