A rapid assessment of the effects of extreme weather on two Great Barrier Reef industries
- Year: 2013
- Author: Margaret Gooch, Karen Vella, Nadine Marshall, Renae Tobin & Rachel Pears
- Journal Name: Australian Planner
- Journal Number: 50.3
- Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
- Published Location: United Kingdom
- ISBN: 0729-3682
- Country: Australia
- State/Region: Queensland
In coastal areas, extreme weather events, such as floods and cyclones, can have debilitating effects on the social and economic viability of marine-based industries. In March 2011, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority implemented an Extreme Weather Response Program, following a period of intense flooding and cyclonic activity between December 2010 and February 2011. In this paper, we discuss the results of a project within the Program, which aimed to: (1) assess the impacts of extreme weather events on regional tourism and commercial fishing industries; and (2) develop and road-test an impact assessment matrix to improve government and industry responses to extreme weather events. Results revealed that extreme weather events both directly and indirectly affected all five of the measured categories, i.e. ecological, personal, social, infrastructure and economic components. The severity of these impacts, combined with their location and the nature of their business, influenced how tourism operators and fishers assessed the impact of the events (low, medium, high or extreme). The impact assessment tool was revised following feedback obtained during stakeholder workshops and may prove useful for managers in responding to potential direct and indirect impacts of future extreme weather events on affected marine industries.