Dive boat operators who visit the reef almost on a daily basis taking thousands of tourists on diving expeditions have been telling authorities for several years there is nothing wrong with the reef.
They have warned lying so-called conservation bodies such as the WWF, Wilderness Society, CAFNEC, the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce and the Australian Conservation Foundation their misleading campaigns would harm the Far North tourism trade.
Tourist operators have advised the State Government that coral bleaching is a natural and annual event that can affect small sections of the reef.
Spirit of Freedom dive boat owner Chris Eade told the Cairns Post that reports of coral bleaching along 93 per cent of the 2300 klm reef had damaged the reputation of the $5 billion tourism industry.
“Scientists had written off the entire northern section as a complete white-out,” Mr Eade said.
“We expected the worst, but it is in tremendous condition, most of it pristine, the rest in full recovery.”
“It shows the resilience of the reef.”
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.
“The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs,” Mr Ball said.
“There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry.”
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York.
Scientists with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned “the final death toll” on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.
This year the worst bleaching was found at Lizard Island, 180 klms north of Cooktown, where several reefs have shown distress due to fluctuating water temperatures.
Photo: Quicksilver Cruises
Dive boat operators maintain the reef is in near-pristine condition, dismissing the lies of conservation groups
According to the late Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in an interview several years ago, this is a natural phenomenon that has occurred for several thousand years.
The climate and reef-runoff cults namely the Labor Party, Greens and conservation groups have campaigned to stop sediment runoff from farming areas which they claim is causing coral bleaching and would be doomsday for the entire reef.
The only problem with the Lizard Island bleaching is that no farming or grazing occurs on the entire eastern coastline or hinterland north of Cooktown which includes the nearby mainland opposite the tourist island. The closest farming activities are 180 kilometres to the south.
Never letting the facts get in the way of a fictitious environmental issue, the State Government in June purchased the large pastoral property ‘Springvale’, 50 klms west of Cooktown for $6.7 million ostensibly to prevent sediment runoff from grazing.
If ever the government made an unnecessary land acquisition, this one took the cake. The Government’s own Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett in May released a report clearing the Spingvale/ Normanby River system of any measurable sediment runoff entering the ocean.
ALP sources have advised there are several more property acquisitions from the Cooktown area in the pipeline, which, according to Lakeland district graziers, would be a monumental waste of taxpayers money and would have a severe impact on the district’s economy.
The Labor Government now proposes a blanket World Heritage listing over the entire Cape York Peninsula to pacify the Greens in return for government support of the much-maligned Adani coal mine.