Yesterday we passed Abbot Point. The long pier, that allows ships to collect coal, extends 1.5 miles off shore. Abbot Point is a large coal port that contributes significantly to the huge amount off coal getting shipped out off Australia each year. However, one pier is clearly not enough. Why have only one, when you could have two? Or three? So that’s what they’re doing. They’re going to dredge off Abbot Point so that the water will be deep enough for two more piers. The dredge spoil will be dumped on or near coastal coral reefs or sea grass beds. However they’re not really taking into account the fact that dredge spoil spreads. It doesn’t just sink immediately; it spreads and can smother and kill many marine habitats. Also, areas like the sea grass beds are a large source of food for animals like dugongs and turtles.
|Gladstone is also undergoing a building boom|
Now, for my opinion. I think that the people who are justifying all this as okay, are either seriously misinformed, crazy, or just don’t care. I’ve spent more than half my life at sea, watching hundreds of animals play near our boat. When we first arrived, we didn’t snorkel on any reefs. And then we were in Brisbane for two and a half years and none of us really wanted to swim in the Brisbane River. But now we’ve snorkeled on a few reefs in Australia and I know that the level of sea life we’re seeing isn’t healthy. Because I’ve snorkeled on lots of reefs outside of Australia and while I don’t have data and notes, I think I can tell a little bit about whether reefs are healthy. We have seen no sharks. No large fish. None of the signs of a healthy, well balanced reef. And it makes me want to cry.
We’re seeing a reasonable amount of turtles and whales when at sea and in anchorages, but no signs of life on the reefs. We’re heading more into the Great Barrier Reef area, so I’m hoping that there’s life. The largest coral reef in the world is starting to die. And unless we do something, we’re going to see it end.