Sunlover is an Eco Certified Tourism operator, awarded by Ecotourism Australia (EA) and because we have held this status for 14 years we are now an accredited Green Travel Leader. This certification means we have met specific criteria relating to environmental sustainability and culturally responsible tourism.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
GBRMPA is the Australian government body that manages and protects the Great Barrier Reef. Sunlover has been recognised as a High Standard operator by GBRMPA and we work closely with them in a number of ways:
National Park (Green) Zone
Our Moore Reef Marine Base is part of the ‘Marine National Park (Green) Zones’ as defined by GBRMPA. This means that no marine life or corals may be taken from the area, however we are permitted to conduct water activities in the area. GBRMPA undertook this zoning as it has been identified that no-take areas provide a refuge for protected species, boost species numbers and, protect spawning and nursery grounds.
Eye on the Reef
Eye on the Reef is a monitoring and assessment program. We monitor our Moore and Arlington Reef sites for signs of changes to the environment. We also show guests how to complete the Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring Survey through our Marine Biologist for a Day citizen science program, which directly contributes to the collection of information about reef health.
Crown of Thorns Starfish
The starfish are a predator of live coral, and unless actively managed can cause significant damage to coral reefs. We applied and received a permit in 2013 at the outset of the eradication program to allow us to actively participate in the suppression of the Crown of Thorns starfish.
Master Reef Guides Program
The Master Reef Guide program was developed to educate our visitors about the reef environment and protection. Master Reef Guides are recognised as the world’s leading reef guides, interpreters and story tellers sharing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. These reef ambassadors can provide up to date information on the Reef, share stories of the magical World Heritage Area and explain what you can do to make a difference. Our Marine Biologist, Pablo Cogollos was selected and intensively trained to graduate as one of the very first Master Reef Guides, with Marine Naturalist Luke Smith graduating in the second cohort. We are committed to providing ongoing support to our expert crew in achieving this status. If you see Pablo or Luke onboard, feel free to ask them any questions you have about the reef.
Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) is a voluntary non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation turtles. At the rehabilitation centres based on Fitzroy Island and the Cairns Aquarium, sick and injured turtles are nurtured back to health. Educational tours are available daily at both locations.
As long-time supporters of the centre, Sunlover not only played a part in the initial set up of the centre through donations and fundraising, we are also committed to playing an ongoing role in its success through fundraising efforts, transport of volunteers, and assisting with turtle releases from our Moore Reef Marine Base.
Citizens of the Reef
As a founding Citizens Circle Member, Sunlover is a proud supporter of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef – “the world’s first collaborative and independent movement for the Reef”. Uniting interested parties from across the globe, this initiative is designed to inspire a collective approach to ensuring the longevity of the reef.
Environmental Management Charge
Did you know that you are making an important contribution towards the protection of the Great Barrier Reef?
An Environmental Management Charge of $6.50 from your ticket to our Moore Reef or Arlington Reef Marine Bases is given to the federal government to assist the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), in monitoring, managing and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
As well as participation in these major environmental initiatives, we continually challenge ourselves as a business to make changes to negate our impact on the environment. For example, we were industry leaders in banishing straws as part of the Straw no More initiative, the first an only reef operator to stock Great Barrier Reef Beer from the Good Beer Co who donate 10% of proceeds to marine conservation and we recently sent two of the Sunlover team to join Al Gore at a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training event.
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Coral Spawning - the Best in 5 Years
Hard and soft corals at our Moore Reef Marine Base, spawned spectacularly this year. The abundance and variety of spawn released amazed our expert team of filmmakers, photographers, marine biologists and Master Reef Guides.
At the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre based on Fitzroy Island, co-founder Jennie Gilbert and her dedicated team are committed to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles, as well as raising awareness through publicity and education.
Established in 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Master Reef Guides Program is designed to produce reef ambassadors who will both educate others about the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and inspire them to become proactive in its survival.
Meet Sunny the Sunlover Sponsored Green Sea Turtle
In 2018, Sunlover sponsored the care and rehabilitation of a Green Sea Turtle hatchling that was taken into care by the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre after he washed up on the shores of Fitzroy Island.