Cairns tourists to Reef give support to Marine Park plan
Tourists and dive operators on the outer Great Barrier Reef yesterday universally backed the call to declare the world's biggest ocean sanctuary.
Reef Magic dive instructor Ben Kite, 21, on Moore Reef off Cairns yesterday, said it would be a huge boon for tourism.
"Everyone comes out here and tell us how lucky we are to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world," said the diver.
"This is only going to enhance our reputation."
British father-of-two Mark Davis said the huge scale of the marine sanctuary "felt a bit like overkill".
"But I think it will be seen as a masterstroke by the time our kids grow up.
"Acts now, it is pointless to act when it is too late."
New Zealander Amelia Grace, 23, said snorkelling in the vast marine park for the first time made it an even bigger experience.
"It is a wonderland," said the landscape architect.
"This is something everyone should do once in a lifetime and so too the generations to come. It is fantastic."
Mike Ball of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions said it comes at a time when the Coral Sea is alive with migratory humpback whales, minke whales and black and blue marlin in the annual mating season.
"Osprey reef is the jewel in the crown for dive tourism and to protect it and Bougainville reefs is a very positive step."
He said Coral Sea operators were trying to get details about activity around reef edges and possible impact on world-famous shark feeding.
Victorian tourists Jess Bartlett, 22, and Jake Theodore, 23, said swimming on the reef for the first time had opened their eyes.
"It is only when you get underwater that you realise how much life is down there, it is a whole other world," said Ms Bartlett.
"I think the more people that see it, will support protecting it."
Reef Magic underwater photographer Martina Neher, 32, of Germany said she wanted it protected.
"What is happening with mining in the rest of Australia is a disgrace.
"I think the only hope is to ban oil and gas exploration in the Coral Sea."
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Dive wonderland: A group of divers takes in the sights of Moore Reef yesterday. Picture: STEWART McLean