App for keeping up to date on Reef health
A POWERFUL new tourism tool is about to start telling the true story of the Great Barrier Reef's health directly to would-be visitors.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland has just launched a new map showcasing daily underwater vision of sites visited by tour vessels in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region.
TTNQ chief executive Mark Olsen said tour operators already regularly documented what they saw for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Eye on the Reef monitoring program.
"TTNQ is also sharing this information on a map to make it easier for people to see what the Reef looks like before they visit," he said.
"The Great Barrier Reef Today map currently shows the main reefs off Cairns and Port Douglas where tour operators visit and will gradually expand to shows reefs to our north and south."
The interactive tool can be found by clicking the banner on the tropicalnorthqueens land.org.au website.
Mr Olsen said travellers were encouraged to use #GreatBarrierReefToday when posting images of the Reef and to upload them to the Eye on the Reef app to give a visual snapshot of the natural wonder on any given day.
"Great Barrier Reef Today is another example of operators in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region working with the science community by compiling data to give GBRMPA a clear picture of the Reef's health," he said.
"The first daily natural history records of the Great Barrier Reef were gathered by tourism operator Reef Biosearch in 1986 and these were the catalyst for GBRMPA's Eye on the Reef program.
"The partnership between tourism and science has continued to grow and last year included (a) world-first IVF program during the annual coral spawn.
"Operators assisted researchers from Southern Cross University and James Cook University to collect coral eggs and sperm so the coral larvae could be fed and released on the Great Barrier Reef to grow new corals.
"Numerous other projects involving the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tourism industry include coral nurseries, coral resettling and using electricity to stimulate coral growth."