Vessel will increase compliance, surveying, and research capabilities on the reef to help in the management of protected species.
Australian State Launches Floating Reef Ranger Station
BRISBANE, Australia — A new vessel that will act as a floating ranger station to improve the protection of marine life in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been launched by the Queensland and Commonwealth governments.
The AUD 9.7 million ($7.5 million) Reef Resilience vessel unveiled in Gladstone on May 7 is part of the Reef Joint Field Management Program.
The 24-meter vessel will increase compliance, surveying, and research capabilities on the reef to help in the management of protected species and respond to incidents in the region.
Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, said the vessel provides a practical approach to increasing operations on the reef that may impact its ecosystems.
“This is yet another important and practical investment in reef protection, one that will substantially increase our capacity for field operations and in protecting the reef from illegal activities, including illegal fishing,” she said.
“It is capable of reaching the remotest locations in the southern Great Barrier Reef and delivering multiple tasks simultaneously. We have a similar vessel already operating in the northern part of the Reef, and this means the entire World Heritage Area is benefiting.”
Queensland’s Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Meaghan Scanlon, says working with traditional custodians to maintain the reef is imperative in enhancing protected species management and in-water surveys.
“Supporting rangers, Traditional Owners, Indigenous Rangers, and researchers to deliver a range of activities at the same time is exactly what this amazing vessel is designed to do,” she said.
“It allows our rangers to more efficiently and effectively maintain island campgrounds and the network of public moorings and enhance our management of protected species like marine turtles and seabirds.”
The vessel Tamoya, which services the Whitsundays, is also to be upgraded.
As per reports by UNESCO, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally outstanding and significant entity. The entire ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometers (216,237 square miles).
It includes extensive cross-shelf diversity, stretching from the low water mark along the mainland coast up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) offshore. This wide depth range includes vast shallow inshore areas, mid-shelf, and outer reefs, and beyond the continental shelf to oceanic waters over 2,000 meters deep.
“Within the Great Barrier Reef, there are some 2,500 individual reefs of varying sizes and shapes, and over 900 islands, ranging from small sandy cays and larger vegetated cays, to large rugged continental islands rising, in one instance, over 1,100 meters above sea level,” states the report.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Saptak Datta)