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Thread: Is the reef really dying..?

  1. #16

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    How about this for a theory, the water gets warmer because of "global warming" doesn't the coral then just keep growing south in the right temperature, until someday, the Barrier Reef is off Sydney?

  2. #17

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noelm View Post
    How about this for a theory, the water gets warmer because of "global warming" doesn't the coral then just keep growing south in the right temperature, until someday, the Barrier Reef is off Sydney?
    Or if Walter Starck (I think it was lucky Phil who posted links to him years back) is correct and the bleaching is caused by prolonged periods of calm weather. Then we could in fact see the current reef see less bleaching due to the "more frequent badd weather" AND the coral blossoming further south.....
    Democracy: Simply a system that allows the 51% to steal from the other 49%.

  3. #18
    Ausfish Addict disorderly's Avatar
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigE View Post
    Gee next you will saying there is no shortage of sharks !!!!

    just joking ...... we all know research is linked to funding...... and scientist are as holy as priests

    BigE
    Yes mate its all about the dollars ..a fun fact is that the salaries for Heads of Universitys in Australia now average around 1 million dollars a year (about double that of the PM) and their pay has been rising almost 10% per year the past 4-5 years....nice work if you can get it...

    and yeah there is still the odd shark out there but I think they were all under my boat last trip....


    Quote Originally Posted by Noelm View Post
    How about this for a theory, the water gets warmer because of "global warming" doesn't the coral then just keep growing south in the right temperature, until someday, the Barrier Reef is off Sydney?
    Noel, nearly 30 years back when I used to dive a bit around Julien Rocks off Byron and the Solitary islands there was quite a lot of both hard and soft corals there..obviously not the variety and density of up here in FNQ but still pretty cool...Coral Trout off Sydney...?...still a few years away i think..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey80 View Post
    Or if Walter Starck (I think it was lucky Phil who posted links to him years back) is correct and the bleaching is caused by prolonged periods of calm weather. Then we could in fact see the current reef see less bleaching due to the "more frequent badd weather" AND the coral blossoming further south.....
    Lovey,not just that ,but remember we have gone through an extended El nino pattern in recent years where the sea surface temperature of the tropical pacific are warmer and causes more bleaching but now as we are forecast to revert to a La nina pattern those seawater temps will presumably fall....yet it seems so much of the research showing doom and gloom is based on year to year findings in the peak of El nino rather then a longer term results which take into account variances in water temps due to global weather trends over decades or centuries.....

  4. #19
    Ausfish Addict disorderly's Avatar
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Couple of pics from an overnighter late this week in some awesome weather..

    This part of the reef got pretty well bleached the past couple of summers but is bouncing back well...

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  5. #20
    Ausfish Addict disorderly's Avatar
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    With some great weather forecast this week the missus and I thought we would explore some new territory..

    We launched out of Mourylian Harbour near Innisfail on Tuesday and first stop was Pearl reef just about 30kms offshore....within an hour and a half we were bagged out on Trout and caught a whopper Gold Spot cod so we had a bit of a snorkel and headed wide to scout out some red ground...

    We also ended up with a huge pod of dolphins wanting to play with us on the ride out...

    We got a mixed bag including Red Emperor, nannigai , spangled and jobfish and had a good sleep overnight..

    We didnt want to fish in the morning as the esky had enough so we just sounded a bit more and headed back to Feather reef for another snorkel ...this reef starts only 25km's offshore and is a green zone...

    These were the worst areas of reef we have snorkelled so far..such a difference from further south of Mission Beach .....

    I guess it hasnt recovered as good as other areas possibly due to the closer proximity to land and is located directly out from the mouth of the mighty Johnstone river....

    It certainly seems to appear that the inshore fringing reefs around the islands and the very close reefs near the mainland and rivermouths seem to be the more vulnerable to damage and recovery after bleaching and natural disasters such as cyclones...I guess that stands to reason given the vast amount of silt and runoff from the Wet Tropics rainforest areas and large amount of lowland Cane and Banana farms in the region..





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  6. #21

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Looks like a good trip well done, very jealous.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #22

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    I read a report a few years ago about testing of core samples on the reef in a substantial number of locations.
    It appears that die back is a normal part of the cycle, it also allows new forms of corals to start on areas previously dominated by a few types, adding to diversity.
    Jack.

  8. #23

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    The trouble is that coral does not recover quickly ...... that is the fact

    A coral bommie might be hundreds or thousands of years old .......

    I've snorkeled in a few legendary places up the Whitsundays over the past 20 + years ...... & you are kidding yourselves if the reef hasn't seen some decline . It's all cool & fine to check out some isolated reef & poo poo it ........ but the accessible reefs are a different proposition .

    While ever fishoes need to travel further & wider means that there is a problem ..... don't you think ?

    Chris
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    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
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  9. #24
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Quote Originally Posted by NAGG View Post
    The trouble is that coral does not recover quickly ...... that is the fact

    A coral bommie might be hundreds or thousands of years old .......

    I've snorkeled in a few legendary places up the Whitsundays over the past 20 + years ...... & you are kidding yourselves if the reef hasn't seen some decline . It's all cool & fine to check out some isolated reef & poo poo it ........ but the accessible reefs are a different proposition .

    While ever fishoes need to travel further & wider means that there is a problem ..... don't you think ?

    Chris
    Come on Chris I expect more of you then just spouting typical green generalisations...

    Which coral doesnt recover quickly..?..some species of coral could be described as slow growing whilst others like many of the soft corals , staghorn corals etc can grow 10-30 cm a year..corals spawn every year and some degree of new corals are recruited and start to grow....JCU have found it be quite simple to "farm" the coral spawn to increase recruitment and regrowth using a type of inflatable pen to catch the once a year spawn... ...it would be nice to think this technique could be used more widely in areas damaged by bleaching, cyclones or human traffic...

    https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/l...laboration.php

    Which are the legendary places you have dived in the whitsundays that you have seen a decline in..?

    Are they fringing or barrier reef sites..?

    Have you seen the decline before and after the start of the el nino events starting around 2016-17 and the devastation from Cyclone Debbie in 17 or was it apparent before these events..?

    Its quite obvious that a cat 5 cyclone that actually washs bommies onto the shore will do enormous damage to corals so this intervention at Manta Ray bay will be an interesting test on how the corals can grow back on fringing reef...

    https://reefresilience.org/case-stud...a-restoration/

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "accesible reefs"...?....if you mean more widely visited reefs that have a high population of snorkellers and fishers then of course these will be damaged year by year by people, anchors etc...

    Strangely enough this week saw us fishing first up on the closest, most accessible reef from Mourylian harbour (which I normally wouldnt do because of the perception that it would be "fished out") yet saw us have the best trout session in the past 15 years ...

    I'm also not really sure what you mean by "It's all cool & fine to check out some isolated reef & poo poo it "

    I just posted some photo's of a couple of reefs we dived at this week and wondered why they are not so great....i havent been there before so I dont know if they have declined much or always been that way...

    As mentioned before the main reefs we visit off Mission that we have personally witnessed massive damage through 2 major cyclones and the recent bleaching events and yet some have bounced back quite incredibly...some more slowly some quite quickly...

    Around Beaver reef (one of the closest off Mission Beach )where the missus first started diving in this area when she was working as a Divemaster/Instructor on a couple of the commercial boats she reckons that despite the ebbs and flows of coral its much the same as it was 25 years back..I guess she helped contribute to some amount degradation taking out novice scuba divers who couldnt control their buoyancy and ended up smashing up the coral with their fins.....imagine on the big boats that take out hundreds of snorkellers and divers to the same reefs every day out of Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays , how much damage is done on a yearly basis from fin pressure, sunscreen etc...

    We all acknowledge that there is a constant evolution of this growing mass of coral and that its constantly being damaged by both nature and mans actions but I think we need to be careful when we generalise that "The Reef" is this or that or that or the alarmist "The Reef is dying" spiel repeated by so many..

    Next time someone tells you "The reef is dying" ask them what coral actually is and how it grows and I bet most dont even know and cant even explain that yet they are brainwashed into repeating the mantra..

    It does my head in ..almost all the wwoofers we host will tell us this based on a one off snorkel around some fringing reef or an island or a shitty patch of reef where the cheapest dive reef boats dumps off a thousand snorkelers a day....in fact I was told it again by these last wwoofers just last week after taking them over to Dunk island...yep it must be true if a chinese girl who cant swim and has to use a lifejacket to snorkell says the reef is dead..

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    Perhaps a better term is that the reef is "under pressure " from a variety of factors..and we need to be careful of what we choose to beleive..as shown by my above photo's of our last 2 trips I could use one lot to say the reef is in perfect health or I could use the other lot to further the narrative the the reef is in serious decline.....while the real answer is somewhere in between but there is only money in one of those narratives..

    BTW I'm looking forward to watch the underwater art turn into coral formations over the years....

    https://www.moua.com.au/

    I also think one of the most responsible things ,as fisho's, we can do for the reef areas is too get a trolling motor...it makes me wince to think of how many times I dropped a reef pick and 6m of chain onto fragile corals over the years...I also wished I had of had an underwater camera before this past year..

    Maybe we are just loving the reef to death and we will have to look at a range of measures to ensure the longevity of this treasure...accessing funding and research doesnt seem to be an issue so I dont have too many concerns for "the Reef"..

    You sound more concerned than me Chris..?..what do you think the future holds..?

  10. #25

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Quote Originally Posted by disorderly
    Come on Chris I expect more of you then just spouting typical green generalisations...


    when have you seen anything different?
    Democracy: Simply a system that allows the 51% to steal from the other 49%.

  11. #26
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    We have been exploring more of the reefs lately both inshore and outer reef..

    and still finding lots of variance in the quality in different areas....

    Its strange because when i hear about the reef dying in the media I always hear that the culprit is "Global warming"...

    Anyway i have been annoying a Professor at the JCU Townsville about it and this was his response to my COTS question where I asked if maybe they are one of the major threats to the reef....he seemed to agree I think if i read it right.

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    Anyway here is a vid from a quick dive last week on some quite nice reef...picture quality is terrible and the go pro doesnt pick up the colours well but you can get the idea...



    We had a nice dive in the coral spawn and I also bagged out on the spanish..all up a good overnighter.
    Interestingly enough the week before and despite the very poor visibility and usual dirty water we found some half decent coral just 4km's off the coast...the couple we took out were impressed to see coral so close inshore....Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #27

    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    It amazes me that we have this huge biological structure. The largest in the world. We know before we even look at things that impact the reef, that for millions of years corals have been growing and dying in cycles so regularly that this huge structure has formed. Live coral growing on top of dead coral. I donít think anyone believes this has built up over time with corals dying of old age in a natural cycle one by one. COTS, cyclones, volcanoes, periods of mild weather causing bleaching etc etc have been going on for millions of years to build this structure/s.

    Yet in the 80/90ís COTS was an existential threat to the entire reef. I remember being taught in primary school that if humans didnít do anything, the COTS were going to devour the entire reef. There was the same doomsday, the sky is falling call from the reef scientists as there is today around global warming. Yet the reef had survived fighting off the COTS for how many thousands of years?

    They say the reef is over 500,000 years old, with the current incarnation developing in the last 8,000 years after the last ice age. Thereís been 4-5 glacial periods in the last 500,000 years. Iím assuming the reef died off completely in those periods and came back? In the same time frame thereís been 4 inter-glacial periods that were hotter than it is today. Only one of those periods had CO2 levels peak below todayís levels. Did the reef also go extinct during those periods? Ironically the previous inter-glacial periods in the last 500,000 years, the CO2 level increases lagged the temp increases.

    Our close observation of the reef at any scale is less than 100 years old. For most that are doing research papers today a fraction of that. Yet we are meant to believe such short timeframe observations are accurate? How many times in the last 20 years have we been told by one group or another that 50% of the reef died in a major bleaching event? Either we must be down to less than 5% of reef remaining or the reef grows back really really fast as to make this chicken little merry-go-round a farce.

    I have had multiple foreigners (mostly divers) tell me how much they really wanted to visit Australia and dive the reef but now that 50% of the reef is dead donít see the value in travelling such a long way and incurring the big expenses to see such a tragic event. When you hear that from people that are diving the Red Sea or Thailand from Europe itís really pisses me off as these self interested scientists are robbing Australia of valuable tourism income just to get their funding grants approved.
    Democracy: Simply a system that allows the 51% to steal from the other 49%.

  13. #28
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    Re: Is the reef really dying..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey80 View Post
    It amazes me that we have this huge biological structure. The largest in the world. We know before we even look at things that impact the reef, that for millions of years corals have been growing and dying in cycles so regularly that this huge structure has formed. Live coral growing on top of dead coral. I donít think anyone believes this has built up over time with corals dying of old age in a natural cycle one by one. COTS, cyclones, volcanoes, periods of mild weather causing bleaching etc etc have been going on for millions of years to build this structure/s.

    Yet in the 80/90ís COTS was an existential threat to the entire reef. I remember being taught in primary school that if humans didnít do anything, the COTS were going to devour the entire reef. There was the same doomsday, the sky is falling call from the reef scientists as there is today around global warming. Yet the reef had survived fighting off the COTS for how many thousands of years?

    They say the reef is over 500,000 years old, with the current incarnation developing in the last 8,000 years after the last ice age. Thereís been 4-5 glacial periods in the last 500,000 years. Iím assuming the reef died off completely in those periods and came back? In the same time frame thereís been 4 inter-glacial periods that were hotter than it is today. Only one of those periods had CO2 levels peak below todayís levels. Did the reef also go extinct during those periods? Ironically the previous inter-glacial periods in the last 500,000 years, the CO2 level increases lagged the temp increases.

    Our close observation of the reef at any scale is less than 100 years old. For most that are doing research papers today a fraction of that. Yet we are meant to believe such short timeframe observations are accurate? How many times in the last 20 years have we been told by one group or another that 50% of the reef died in a major bleaching event? Either we must be down to less than 5% of reef remaining or the reef grows back really really fast as to make this chicken little merry-go-round a farce.

    I have had multiple foreigners (mostly divers) tell me how much they really wanted to visit Australia and dive the reef but now that 50% of the reef is dead donít see the value in travelling such a long way and incurring the big expenses to see such a tragic event. When you hear that from people that are diving the Red Sea or Thailand from Europe itís really pisses me off as these self interested scientists are robbing Australia of valuable tourism income just to get their funding grants approved.
    Mate its scary to see the disinformation thats being presented as fact these days..

    That reef in the video I took above was totally smashed in cat 5 cyclone Yasi in 2011 and before that in 2005 during Cat 4 Cyclone Larry...the gutters were just full up with broken and dead white coral..I have been diving it for more than 15 years..

    I sent the vid to a JCU professor who had this too say..

    "thanks for the video. That's about 5 years of regrowth based on the size of the plate and staghorn colonies."

    So why are we talking doomsday when a reef can recover from such a catastropic event in less then a decade.

    Honestly, as you say, the narrative most often presented is to encourage further funding..its about money and jobs..

    i agree with spending heaps on reef research and harvesting coral spawn to deposit on damaged reef and all the other brilliant research thats going on...but i hate the lies and media narrative that is so often portrayed..

    The reef is not dying at all.

    BTW here is a link to some recent reef surveys of the reefs of Mission beach..Reg ward reef is just 15 Km's or so from the reefs in the video above...

    One of the comments that I found interesting was that its hard to give definitive data unless you have been back to the same reefs year after year to have something to actually judge progress over time on....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid...ature=youtu.be

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