A new documentary has been released which shines a light on the degradation and decline of the Great Barrier Reef. Murder on the Reef is an important reminder of the on going battle to save the reef from the catastrophic impact of large-scale development, coastal sediment dredging and poor governance. Interviewing top scientists from the world of coral and marine research, as well as activists and political and indigenous leaders, the film makers explore the somewhat bleak outlook for the reef today due to the many port developments that have been given the go-ahead along the reef’s edge. Many scientists estimate that as much as half of all the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has died, a shocking discovery, the cause of which the filmmakers squarely place at the feet of big business, poor environmental legislation and a history of exploitation. A recent example comes in the form of the Gladstone port expansion project which resulted in a devastating spill of dredging waste in 2011, which killed scores of fish, turtles and dolphins. Many scientists fear this is just the beginning and as more dredging projects are given the go-ahead, we can expect many more accidents and environmental disasters in the future.
The film also delves into the murky world of big business and politics. Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal, the number one culprit for global warming, and its sale provides huge amounts of dollars to political parties. Global warming has led to years of coral bleaching on the reef and this is only getting worse, thanks to the burning of coal and other fossil fuels. Invasive species have also played their part with the crown-of-thorns starfish wreaking havoc on the coral for decades. The reef is under attack from all sides it seems.
This film is a fascinating and important exposé of what’s really going on, issues and threats facing the Great Barrier Reef that every traveller should be aware of, especially those of us who love and enjoy this beautiful place on a regular basis. We highly recommend giving it a watch here.