Murder On The Reef

A natural wonder of the world brought to its knees!

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Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky


Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky
Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky


Murder on the Reef follows the hotly debated issues surrounding the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef. But is it too late?

Many scientists now believe as much as fifty percent of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef have died. And this is set to increase in coming years.

Through a complex mix of voices from politicians & locals, to scientists and indigenous elders, Dr. Allen Dobrovolsky travels the length of the reef, on water and on land, to hear the many viewpoints of those people most closely linked with the Reef.

From the decimation of the fishing industry and marine environment in Gladstone caused by port dredging to the warming oceans caused by climate change, the Reef is under siege from many different threats.

But perhaps the biggest threat facing the Reef is our growing inability to cooperate and to reach agreement on the actions we need to take.

The economy is often used as a foil by politicians to any progressive energy or climate policy, but some economists believe this is a baloney argument and the major banks have now stopped funding coal mines in Australia. But the government continue to support these ventures going so far as to brandish a lump of coal on the Lower House floor imploring colleagues to see its virtues. “Don’t be afraid of coal!” then-treasurer, now-Prime Minister Scott Morrison yells. This is mild compared to the mudslinging that has become commonplace in a parliament more divided and dirtier than ever before.

Once vibrant corals are turning white, the marine food sources are disappearing and the Great Barrier Reef is becoming an indicator for what will happen globally.


Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Helen Wheels

The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Located on the coast of Australia, it spans from Queensland, stretching past the southern coastal town of Bundaberg and moving up along the northern tip of Cape York. A total of 3000km, or 1800 miles. Its vast expanse is home to hundreds of different types of coral, species of fish, rays, and dolphins, to name a few. The Great Barrier Reef is also home to the endangered Green Sea Turtle and is a mating ground for humpback whales. Considering the enormity of life within its waters is mind-blowing.

“Murder on the Reef” sounds like a crime drama, not a way to describe the effects of human interference and climate change on the Great Barrier Reef. It turns out, murder may be the most appropriate description, because it implies a choice was made. Tourists have been leaving their mark on the Great Barrier Reef’s fragile ecosystem for over a hundred years. We used to think it was impenetrable, unchangeable; however, the time has proven otherwise. As the documentary points out, the Australian government released an outlook report that blames climate change for putting the world’s reefs at risk. Truthfully though, any interference changes the ecosystem. While we snorkel through its pristine waters, we are changing the Great Barrier Reef in ways we can’t imagine.

Australia is also one of the leading providers of coal in the world, and the income it brings creates a conflict between doing what’s right for the environment and what will bring money into the economy. The concern is that management of the reef’s resources lacks because of a clash of agendas. Scientists and politicians argue over the threat of harm to the reef, with big money alleging that environmentalists are blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Ultimately, politicians argue that climate change is a natural occurrence that we have no power to affect. If we believe that we can’t do anything about it, then environmentalists are obviously trying to push their own agenda.

Dobrovolsky is an environmental scientist who got his Ph.D. studying the effects of Chernobyl, a human-made disaster resulting from a nuclear reactor being pushed beyond its capacity. His documentary, “Murder on the Reef” runs close to an hour and sheds light on the clash between money and nature; a clash resulting in decisions from which there may be no turning back, environmentally speaking. Dobrovolsky interviews Australian activists, indigenous leaders, and research scientists who are greatly concerned with the continued development along the fragile coastline. According to the documentary, as much as 50 percent of the coral making up the Great Barrier Reef has already died due to a variety of environmental and human-made factors.

One example of human-made issues for the Great Barrier Reef cited in the documentary is the Gladstone port expansion project. It ended in an environmental disaster, which contaminated the harbor. The dredge that spilled into the waters killed hundreds of fish, turtles, and dolphins, disturbing the fragile environment within the reef. The U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Darren Lucas

Film critic

In England we have one of the icons in nature in Sir David Attenborough who for over half a century has been giving us warnings about human involvement in the destruction of nature, in 2015-2016 he did his own warnings over the Great Barrier Reef, now we look at the political side of the destruction. Two years later we learn how scientist Dr Allen Dobrovolsky continued to share this message with his own research after his own 4 years of research.

We get to head to the tourist sites along the Great Barrier Reef, that has been giving the profit needed to keep the tourism an achievable business. The problems came from increased industry along the coasts which have caused long-term problems, climate change and demand on job security that is running through Australia.

We focus on searching for the people who won’t help rather than looking for a sensible answer for a solution to the constantly decreasing health of the Reef. The government’s different attitudes toward whether saving the Great Barrier Reef compared to continuing to increase profits coming into the country only lead to petty arguments instead of ideas.

The documentary wants to send a message, it achieves that and now the simple question must be, Can people work together to find a solution before it is too late?

The one thing that must be noted about this documentary, is that you won’t be getting endless beauty shots of the Great Barrier Reef, we are only looking at the worst moments surrounding it and seeing interviews with people trying to look for solution mixed if parliament discussion.

John Sumattasay

Hopefully this film is shown around the world and in doing so will remind the human race that we are slowly destroying not only the reef but the world because of the greed.of those that already have enough to live a healthy lifestyle. Fossil fuel mining should have been fazed out ten years ago for now it is too late as damage has occurred not only in Australia but many parts of the world. Climate warming is causing droughts in Sweden and other countries in the northern hemisphere which don't usually experience them which causes massive fires. In other parts of the world we are witnessing torrential storms and destructive cyclones which causes flooding, death and destruction. When will the 1% elite decide enough is enough, only when it destroys them too.

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Olena Pogorelova

Where is the border between the global progress and destructive force from it? The authors of the film Murder on the Reef do not answer the question, but rather show the crumble of a delicate balance of the unity between the nature and mankind. They emphasise on the importance of each group of the society acting separately and in unison: the government, businesses and NGOs.

Similarities with the Chernobyl tragedy is quite to the point. The Chernobyl disaster happened lightning fast, however, we have been observing the consequences of it for more than 30 years now. The history of the Great Barrier Reef is millions of years old and right now we are the witnesses, or, to be more precise, accomplices of the irreversible consequences.

The film triggers an internal dialogue, a feel of the audience’s relevancy and a search for personal influence onto the situation, an understanding that each of us is a part of a living social and natural being in which continuous interactions and impulses occur. By our actions with a mentality of a consumer, and sometimes, on the contrary, by the inactivity of a silent observer, we participate in the destruction of one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world.

In the film, there are no hyper-emotional shots and reinforcing boosters, which are usually used to emphasise the severity of global environmental problems. At the same time, a balanced professional assessment of the narrator gives a complete picture of the scale of the tragedy.

After watching the film, you will likely have more questions, which is, I guess, the aim of the authors. If this unique natural wonder, which extends along 2500km of the shoreline and can be seen from space, is irreversibly ill, then what are we, each of us, doing wrong?

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Chrstine Nefodova

Recently viewing the new Murder On The Reef documentary opened my eyes to one of Australia’s greatest impending tragedies that often goes unnoticed by the mainstream media, and as a consequence, by the majority of Australians themselves.

The documentary centres on the efforts and passions of scientists and environmentalist groups in illuminating the horrors that face Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the dire consequences that come as a result of its decline. Throughout the documentary, I particularly enjoyed the range of persons that were interviewed, from activists to Aboriginal elders, allowing for the full scope and impact of the issue to come to light.

Another significant aspect in the documentary sees footage of politicians discussing the state of the Great Barrier Reef in parliament. Including these discussions in the documentary not only allows the public an insight into a sector they would rarely have access to, but it also sheds light on the astounding ignorance and money-hungry nature of the major politicians that stand in the way of the Reef’s prosperity.

Furthermore, whilst the documentary rests on the knowledge and expertise of science, it does so in a way that is inviting to the everyday viewer, allowing for clear explanations of the threats facing the Reef, as well as their consequences, that are both engaging and eye-opening.

Whilst some of the image and sound production within the documentary, as well as its lengthiness, make clear that the film is of an amateur nature, the ultimate passion and drive of the participants to preserve the Reef shines through as its major commendation.

Overall, the Murder On The Reef documentary serves as a unique and eye-opening insight into the many overlooked threats facing our Great Barrier Reef, reminding us why all Australians should work together to protect the site before it’s too late.

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Nataliia Pogorelova

Woe from Wit. We never knew so much and, therefore, never did so much harm. The development of industry, science and economy, unfortunately, is trending this way. No alternative or an alternative is more expensive than using sustainable resources. So far, this is the reality. In contrast to the films about nature, Murder on the Reef is not about biological species and peculiarities of amazing animals, but about the mankind and its influence onto the planet. The film explains the reasons for the dying of the greatest and most unique natural phenomenon of Earth - the Great Barrier Reef, and the importance of humanity to learn how to live in harmony with the ocean.

Within the known universe, Earth is the only planet where there is life. There is no spare planet. We are not the only ‘owners’ of Earth, we must share. In this is our hope. The variety of species is necessary for our own existence, while this is still possible.

Behind faceless figures of the statistics there is a ruthless message to our consumer society. The scale of industries, the inaction of the authorities and ordinary people lead to irreparable consequences for those beings who have lived on our planet for thousands of years before the emergence of mankind.

The film is a must to watch. I highly recommend it for all who think that environmental problems are being solved somewhere and our intervention is not required. The film was created by a wonderful group of professionals. I would like to thank them for giving us another opportunity to think over what they have highlighted. Therefore, I am giving it 10 out of 10.

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Nastasiia Chernenko

The documentary uncovers a conflict of interest in managing the Great Barrier Reef, when the Australian Government hands over nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money to a fund without a proper tendering prosess. The money could have been better spent on halting mines and raising emissions reduction targets. It deserves 5 out of 5.

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Yevhen Tepliakov

The documentary is sending a message that people should work together to find a solution and save the Great Barrier Reef before it is too late. It also raises a question of why was a foundation with clear links to climate change-denying mining companies is the best placed to solve the Reef’s problems. Good work, guys!

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Feel the Reel

It is riveting to watch -

Murder on the Reef tackles one really great issue that front-paged the newspapers all over the world in the past couple of years - the death of the coral reefs. A documentary dealing with this important matter was really necessary for better understanding the problem our ecosystem undergoes every day. Allen Dobrovolsky’s approach is complex and made it really easy for any viewer out there to understand what the problem is, where it came from, and in which way they can stop it. Problems like pollution and climate change are the main factors in ruining the reef once and for all. What is interesting to see in this documentary is how fast the man started destroying its own living space. As we understood from this short, there weren't great issues with the reef some decades ago, but as the man started wanting more and began to fulfil the need of power, the surroundings suffered monstrous changes that now are almost impossible to be reversed. What we really appreciated in this documentary was the fact that Dr Dobrovolsky didn't only present technical information regarding this matter, but he managed to insert good and profound images to make his point. There are some underwater shots with dead corals that are really heartbreaking, and even if you don't fully understand the process and the importance of this change, the shots can easily put your mind straight. It's riveting to watch a documentary like Murder on the Reef for the main reason that it makes you wonder how much this world is suffering right now, and how little we do to protect and preserve it. For us it was a wake-up call, and to be completely honest, it made us realize how hard it is to perceive the sea world without this one great natural wonder. Allen Dobrovolsky did an amazing job with this short documentary. Let’s just hope his message will reach as many people as possible regardless of their interest in mother nature.

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Allen Dobrovolsky


Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Alex Fitzwater

Director & Editor

Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Kieran Harris


Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky

Nicole McCuaig



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Murder On The Reef by Allen Dobrovolsky