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Reef health has changed dramatically, fishing guide says

FRANK Gouley spends every second day in the Southern Great Barrier Reef area, and he has been doing so his whole life.

As the proprieter for a local guided fishing tour business, his livelihood is among hundreds locally who could be jeopardised if Australian governments do not save the reef.

>> Govt confident about reef but locals are sceptical

"The reef has been here well before humans," he said. "We've adopted a culture in Australia where we capitalise and destroy."

Mr Gouley recalls the first time he ventured out to the reef in 1960.

He claims the once pristine and vibrant underwater scene has dramatically changed over the past four decades.

"If me giving up the job that I love would save the reef, I'd stop tomorrow," he said.

"The problem is, we are virtually helpless. If the government doesn't care about it's future, then there is nothing anyone else can do."

Wednesday's UNESCO decision to defer a danger status being imposed on the health of the reef for at least another 12 months, was not good news for local environmental campaigner Riley Dean.

"In Gladstone, we are so close to the reef and everyone will feel the impacts in one way or another," he said.

"Lady Musgrave Island will be one of the first places to feel the impact.

"As the largest coral cay reef in the entire Great Barrier Reef, it's longevity is heavily reliant upon consistent temperatures and exposure.

"I would visit Lady Musgrave now while it's still a spectacle."

While Mr Dean is sceptical environmental agendas will win out over political agendas, he says only time will tell.

Topics:  environment great barrier reef industry unesco



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