Other impacts on coral reefs
This chapter presents evidence of some other physical impacts on coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef that have occurred since European settlement: the clearing of access channels and tracks in coral reefs, the effects of military target practice, the impacts of reef-walking and the development of tourism infrastructure, which are discussed below in turn. All of those activities commenced – and some had ceased – before the formation of the GBRMP in 1975. Some of the activities mentioned in this chapter – such as military operations and the clearing of access channels and tracks – had highly destructive yet localised impacts on coral reefs. In contrast, other activities, such as reef-walking, were more widespread and prolonged before protective legislation was introduced to restrict them. Therefore, the activities presented in this chapter caused a wide range of impacts that varied in their geographical distribution and intensity. The evidence presented in this chapter indicates that the reefs at Heron, Lady Musgrave, Fairfax and Green Islands, North Reef and Upolu Cay, in particular, have been significantly degraded by some of these activities.