Sustainability & Environment - The Whitsundays QLD
The Whitsundays, Queensland.
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Sustainability & Environmental education is very important to The Whitsundays. Tourism operators in The Whitsundays are always striving to improve their practices, they offer various ways for their guests to ensure their tours are sustainable and in the best interests of our local environment.

We have a number of new initiatives in place throughout The Whitsundays with the focus on sustainability and the protection of our beautiful surrounds.

As part of the Federal and State Government Tourism Recovery Fund Coral Gardening has been introduced in The Whitsundays Marine Park in late December 2018. Project Managers Reef Ecologic installed coral nursery frames and propagated corals at Blue Pearl Bay and Manta Ray Bay. A total of 425 coral fragments were initially planted on the coral nursery frames, corals represented are from four different genera and over 10 species. In the months following, reef restoration activities have continued positively at both Blue Pearl and Manta Ray Bays. All coral nurseries are performing well, there are now over 2,000 corals planted. The corals are maintaining a survival rate of 80% across all methods and locations. Recent research on the 188 outplanted corals have indicated they are doing well with survival as high as 92% in Manta Ray Bay in the two months since outplanting onto the natural reef.

Through a recent grant two Water Quality Data Loggers will be installed in The Whitsundays. Crews from the marine tourism industry will maintain the equipment. The data collected from these water quality loggers will be an invaluable aid in guiding management activities on the fringing coral reef systems.

The crews throughout the marine tourism industry in The Whitsundays play a key role in educating our visiting guests on the methods of protection as well as sharing the do’s and don’ts of visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Guests are encouraged to become ambassadors of the reef and make changes in their lives that can lead to better outcomes for this natural wonder. Everything from reducing carbon emissions, reducing chemicals that run into the waterways to making small changes around their own homes.

The Whitsundays is proud to have a number of Master Reef Guides in region as part of the Master Reef Guide Program which aims to bring a deeper understanding of reef management and protection. The guides have been trained as local advocates and storytellers, to better inform and educate the public about the reef. Many tour operators also participate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) ‘Eye on the Reef’ program which is a monitoring and assessment program that enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to contribute to its long-term protection by collecting valuable information about reef health, marine animals and incidents.

The Whitsundays is also home to Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. Since its establishment in 2009, 190,144 kilograms of marine debris/litter has been removed from the Whitsunday waters. Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. was developed to engage the community to protect the precious marine life and aquatic environment of the Whitsunday Region. It now also includes reducing the amount of debris that enters the waterways through the ‘Clean Streets and Creeks’ Program as well as responding and caring for sick and injured marine turtles at the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre. The Whitsundays is also committed to the ‘Last Straw’ campaign with many local eateries, cafés and resorts only serving paper straws. For more information on Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc visit https://ecobargecleanseas.org.au/

The Whitsundays is also proud to have the first solar-powered resort on the Great Barrier Reef. The Carbon Emissions from the island resort will be measured on an annual basis and 150% of carbon emissions will be offset through Carbon Neutral to be a beyond carbon neutral resort.

The Whitsundays also boasts one of its main marina’s as a certified ‘Clean Marina’. The marina is committed to promoting and delivering the best environmental management practices, ensuring the long-term health of the environment. They’ve done this by undertaking the following initiatives:

  1. Be plastic bag free
  2. reduction of energy, water, and noise pollution
  3. nil discharge/ black water pump-out
  4. no fishing, by providing recycling/ waste transfer
  5. being involved in the Last Straw Campaign
  6. providing sustainable vessel operations and also using sustainable vessel maintenance practices

The Whitsundays will soon welcome its second electric vehicle charging station in Proserpine after the success of the 2017 Bowen installation. These stations form part of Queensland’s Electric Super Highway, a network of fast-charging stations allowing vehicles to travel from Cairns to Coolangatta and Brisbane to Toowoomba. The charging stations are a great way of connecting The Whitsundays while simultaneously reducing our environmental footprint.

The Whitsundays tourism industry and community have recognized the time to act is now! Intervention and innovating programs are the future, the region intends to continue building strong working partnerships with government, industry, scientists and philanthropists to ensure the future of The Great Barrier Reef.

Every day the tourism industry in The Whitsundays is striving towards a stronger environment and taking steps to help this wonderful playground remain as picturesque as ever!

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