Environment and National Parks Minister Steven Miles joined reef citizen scientists from UniDive on Saturday, 25 March, who are doing an ecological survey of Flinders Reef near Moreton Island.
UniDive is The University of Queensland's Underwater Club and the divers that are conducting surveys are mostly UQ staff and students.
The Flinders Reef Ecological Assessment project is being coordinated and managed by UniDive and has been ongoing since June last year, and is due to conclude at the end of this year. The Queensland government has provided $5,000 in funding to UniDive to help train divers for this project.
The surveys will provide a detailed assessment of the reef’s corals, fish and invertebrates and the health of waters and the seabed, with a particular focus on the impacts, if any, of the reef’s use as a recreational area.
The UniDive divers conducting the survey have all be trained in globally accepted survey techniques based on Reef Check Australia and UQ led Coral Watch program.
The FREA project will provide publicly accessible data, maps and reports of the health of the Flinders Reef. This data will be useful to ensure that management plans to protect the health of the coasts and local waterways of Moreton Bay are effective.
“Flinders Reef is known around Australia as a well-known dive site and plays an important role in Queensland’s marine ecosystem, being one of the most southerly true coral reefs,” Dr Roelfsema said.
“This project will record fish species and families, invertebrate numbers, substrate type, and any observed reef impacts.
“The project will lead to the creation of habitat maps, publications and data sets, and will involve a number of presentations that among other things will help make the wider community aware of these precious marine sites and understand the importance of protecting them.” Dr Roelfsema said.