A scuba diver swimming among coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Brendan Radke.
A scuba diver swimming among coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: Brendan Radke.

Keppel business to help keep Great Barrier Reef healthy

Great Keppel Island Watersports and Activities is one of 17 marine tourism operators along the Great Barrier Reef that will take to the water from this week for reef site monitoring and maintenance.

The operators successfully applied to be part of a $2.3 million Federal Government program to support jobs in the sector and keep an eye on the reef.

Keppel Dive and GKI Watersports and Activities owner Lyndsay Appleton said by being involved, her staff’s skills and the health of the reef could be more closely monitored.

“This initiative allows us to support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by completing Tourism Weekly Eye on the Reef surveys each week and Reef Health and Impact Surveys every month, over a six-month period,” she said.

“This not only assists us as a company to grow our survey skills, but to provide a weekly report of the health of selected sites around Great Keppel Island, giving invaluable real time health data to scientists and reef managers.

“Great Keppel Island is home to some of the most underrated coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef.”

She said the Tourism Weekly survey involved the general public, so anyone wishing to help out should get in touch.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the coast was a valuable tourist destination and should be taken care of.

“The project aims to provide a degree of business continuity for tourism operations through the provision of key services,” she said.

“This initiative will be vital for ensuring we correctly manage its health into the future, while supporting jobs and livelihoods.

“Operators will undertake in-water conservation and monitoring activities, including reef health and impact surveys, coral gardening and culling crown-of-thorns starfish.

“Imagery captured of the Reef during these activities will also be used to help keep the Reef top of mind for tourists and support tourism recovery campaigns both domestically and overseas.”

Participating tourism operators were selected through an open tender process run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The activities will occur at 234 reefs until 30 June 2021.