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Sirens and Surfers Fighting for our Reef

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Story by Alice Forrest


A giant manta flies along in slow motion next to me, while a turtle glides along in the distance. A white tip reef shark cruises underneath Dave Rastovich, Lauren Hill and other surfers sliding above the shifting rainbow of fish and coral beneath.

A crew of scientists, artists, surfers, musicians and photographers have descended on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef to marvel, document and spread the word about the industrialisation currently threatening the world’s largest living ecosystem. Sirens for the Sea, a grassroots ocean conservation group, teamed up with the global organisation Surfers For Cetaceans to get their heads around this issue first hand.

Photo: Samuel Hall

Photo: Samuel Hall

 

Just 32 nautical miles from our aquatic paradise, harbour waters are so polluted that locals can no longer eat the seafood, and endangered dugongs and turtles are starving due to lack of seagrass. This is the world currently found along Australia’s east coast, where the Great Barrier Reef is under threat from construction of mines, processing plants & shipping ports as well as dredging to make room for a massive increase in shipping traffic.

Huge port developments along the reef have been fast tracked by the QLD government despite growing concerns – the capacity of ports are planned to triple by 2020 and ship numbers will increase by more than half. Abbott Point, located less than 50km from the Whitsundays, is feted to become the largest coal port in the world.

Photo: Samuel Hall

Photo: Samuel Hall

Photo: Lauren Hill

Photo: Lauren Hill

This development directly affects a reef already under pressure from climate change and ocean acidification. Also amongst this chaos is the huge impacts on Aboriginal Australians for whom the reef is an important part of cultural heritage, a lifelong heartbeat and song-line.

The proposed expansions of ports along the outskirts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park put the habitat and lives of amazing animals like the giant manta in jeopardy, just for some overseas exportation and short term profits into the pockets of already rich men and women. It does not benefit local communities. And it certainly doesn’t benefit the future generations who may never get to experience the incredible beauty of the reef as we see it today.

WHAT CAN I DO?

1)   Move your money – switch your money into smaller, community banks like Bendigo or Southern Cross that put the money back into community projects instead of funding fossil fuels

2)   Donate – help campaigns like Get Up! or Sirens for the Sea

3)   Learn – Follow our campaign at sirensforthesea.org and @protectthereefofficial on Instagram

4)   Tell our politicians – Send a letter or call Greg Hunt (environment minister) to let him know you care

5)   Tell a friend – next time you’re at the pub, talk to your friends about something that matters & get your friends and family to join the fight for our reef.

If you have any questions please shoot me an email at [email protected]


CHECK OUT RECENT STORIES…

> ABOUT THE MERMAID SOCIETY

> Shark Encounters Whilst Sup-ing

> The Beautiful Art of Heather Brown

> Akela a New Dimension in Surf Wear

> In Destin They Play by Madi Quinn

> Alice the Mermaid is turning the tide of change with Alice Forrest

FOLLOW THE MERMAID SOCIETY…

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