US-Australian military war games endanger Great Barrier Reef nature

This video is about the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

By David Bradbury in Australia:

Military ‘tourism’ to strike Great Barrier Reef

25 May 2007

In June, Australia will host the largest military exercises ever undertaken in peacetime.

Talisman Sabre 07 will involve 12,400 Australian and 13,700 US troops converging on various locations for their biennial “war games”.

The heart of the exercise will take place in Shoalwater Bay, north of Yeppoon.

This 454,500 hectare area is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and sits adjacent to a significant Ramsar wetland area and the Byfield National Park.

Concerned citizens from around the country are planning a Peace Convergence at Yeppoon from June 18-24.

In stark contrast to the war games, this will be a non-violent gathering to oppose the shock and awe devastation of the two militaries.

Shoalwater Bay is not only breathtakingly beautiful, it is also of vital importance to many endangered species and critical habitats.

In 2005, the Australian government entered an agreement that provided the US long-term access to, and joint use of, Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

This agreement ties Australia to the rapid military build-up taking place in the north-west Pacific, particularly in Guam. The Talisman Sabre exercise is a result of this agreement.

Shoalwater Bay is one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important training areas and bombing ranges in the Asia-Pacific region.

There has been no disclosure of the terms of these agreements or what weaponry will be used in military exercises.

The exercises will include live firing and bombing, underwater detonations, the latest laser guided missiles and “smart” bombs, ship to shore bombing runs, bombing from US bases in Guam, land-based artillery firings, nuclear powered submarines using high-level sonar frequency and nuclear weapons capable vessels and planes.

There are no contingency plans for nuclear accidents.

[For further information contact David Bradbury on 0409 925 469 or email]

Update: here.

And here.

One of many animals of Shoalwater Bay is the rare dugong.

Great Barrier Reef’s great-grandmother is unearthed: here.

Corporate greed threatens Australia’s Murray-Darling river basin: here.

US millionaire Donald Trump vs. Scottish nature reserve: here.

Do cleaning organisms reduce the stress response of client reef fish? Here.

16 thoughts on “US-Australian military war games endanger Great Barrier Reef nature

  1. Fish with attitude: Some like it hot

    Coral reef fish can undergo a personality change in warmer water, according to an intriguing new study suggesting that climate change may make some species more aggressive.

    Experiments with two species of young damselfish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have shown for the first time that some reef fish are either consistently timid, or consistently bold, and that these individual differences are even more marked as water temperatures rise.

    A slight lift of just one or two degrees may have only a small effect on some fish but the behaviour of others can be transformed – leading them to become up to 30 times more active and aggressive.

    “The idea that fish have personalities may seem surprising at first, but we now know that personality is common in animal populations, and that this phenomenon may have far-reaching implications for understanding how animals respond to ecological and environmental challenges,” says Dr Peter Biro, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who led the study with colleagues Christa Beckmann and Judy A. Stamps. It is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    “Our results also suggest that temperature variations are much more significant than we thought in the way they affect the behaviours of individual animals. This needs to be taken into account for scientific studies of other cold-blooded animals, or ectotherms, such as reptiles and amphibians.

    “For instance, individual variations in activity and boldness can affect food acquisition, encounter rates with predators and even the likelihood of an individual being captured by sampling or harvesting gear.

    “We observed that most of the individuals in our experiments were very responsive to changes in temperature, dramatically increasing their levels of activity, boldness and aggressiveness as a function of increases of only a few degrees of temperature. Fish would experience such temperature fluctuations during the course of a normal day.”

    The scientists used fish that were captured just as they were ending their larval stage in open water and had not yet settled onto the reef, and so were naive to social hustle and bustle of reef fish life. They then directly manipulated water temperatures in laboratory tanks at Lizard Island Research station.

    Placed by themselves in tanks, the fish were free to explore or to take refuge in a short piece of plastic pipe. The scientists observed how far and how often the fish ventured from the pipe. In cooler water, individual fish differed greatly in their activity levels. They all became more active to varying degrees when the water was warmed, with some becoming up to 30 times more active, bold and aggressive.


  2. Ship risks barrier reef damage

    Australia: A coal-carrying ship that has been leaking oil since it ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef on Saturday is in danger of breaking apart, officials have warned.

    The Chinese coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on Douglas Shoals, a favourite pristine haunt for recreational fishing east of the Great Keppel Island tourist resort.

    Authorities fear that an oil spill will damage the world’s largest coral reef off north-east Australia, which is listed as a World Heritage site for its environmental value.


  3. Disaster averted on Barrier Reef

    Australia: A coal carrier that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef has been stabilised and a fuel oil leak is contained within a boom, helping to minimise damage to the world’s largest coral reef, a maritime official has announced.

    The accident has led Australian PM Kevin Rudd to consider implementing stricter shipping regulations within the reef’s boundaries.

    In the meantime, workers are focusing on preventing more oil from leaking from the Shen Neng 1, which crashed full speed into protected reef Douglas Shoal on Saturday, rupturing a fuel tank.


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