Although the results of the meeting of the Reef 2050 advisory committee are in, government officials aren’t willing to make any changes to the Reef 2050 plan.
Back in 2015, the Queensland government released something called the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan. They did it because the Unesco World Heritage Centre let them know that they were considering adding the Great Barrier Reef to the list of world heritage sites that were under severe threat. Now, though, in a meeting of the Reef 2050 advisory committee, at least two groups of experts said the battle to “ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its outstanding universal values” has already been lost.
A scientific research expedition, funded by the tourism industry, to a remote part of the Great Barrier Reef will look for climate change-resistant coral in a bid to understand how coral can survive.
Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBR Legacy), a nonprofit organisation, will launch the 21-day trip in November, inviting more than 10 scientists, including Australia’s Charlie Veron — known as the “godfather of coral”, on the research boat.
During the expedition, Veron — former chief scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science — will search for “super corals”, species that have the strongest capacity to cope with rising temperatures.
It’s the world’s biggest coral reef system, home to some 400 types of coral. In the past 18 months, rising ocean temperatures helped cause the single greatest loss of coral ever recorded there.
Nearly a hundred miles off the shore of Port Douglas, Australia, tourists jump into the water of the outer reef. On their dive, they see giant clams, sea turtles and a rainbow of tropical fish, all swimming above brightly colored coral.
On a boat, marine biologist Lorna Howlett quizzes the tourists in the sunshine. “How many people out there saw a coral highlighter-yellow?” she asks, eliciting a show of hands. “What about highlighter-blue? Yeah? Anyone see some hot pinks?”
Eager hands shoot up among the few dozen tourists lounging on the deck of the boat in their wetsuits.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) just released its ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’, and it has one notable omission. The Great Barrier Reef.
Australian experts have spoken out about the exclusion.
Dr Hugh Sweatman, Senior Research Scientist and Leader of the Long-term Monitoring Program for coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Over the past 12 months hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef declined by about a quarter, bringing average reef-wide coral cover down to 18 per cent.These findings are based on surveys of 68 mainly mid- and outer-shelf reefs to March 2017, and do not yet include the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie or the further intense coral bleaching in 2017.
In general, the impacts of coral bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks differ along the 1,500 km length of the Reef.
After a devastating coral die-off, campaigners in Australia had been expecting the Great Barrier Reef to slip onto UNESCO’s “List of World Heritage in Danger.”
However, the World Heritage Committee opted not to include it during its annual meeting in Poland, a move praised by the Australian government as a “big win,” but condemned by campaigners as “farcical.”
UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger has 55 entries, which include natural wonders and man-made sites. Jerusalem’s Old City was added in 1982, and Aleppo, the Syrian city bombarded by air strikes, made the list in 2013.
In a draft document later adopted without debate, the World Heritage Committee noted with “serious concern” coral bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef, and asked for an overall report on the state of conservation by December 2019.
The Australian government commended the decision to leave the Reef off the list.
Australia is on the bucket list of many divers and the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns is perhaps the most favorite destination. Diving represents a good portion of Australia’s tourism and Cairns is the second leading destination in the world for Open Water Diver certifications. However great the Cairns area is for scuba diving, there is much more out there to explore.
Australia has the 6th largest coastline in the world. Along with that coast are two of the greatest reefs in the world. The Great Barrier Reef along the east coast extends well past Cairns both to the north and south. The Ningaloo reef along the west coast of Australia is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites and also have migratory visitors that include whale sharks, other sharks, and whales.
CANBERRA, Australia, June 28, 2017 (ENS) – Australian federal prosecutors are pursuing legal action against the master and owner of a ship they claim is responsible for an major oil spill near the Great Barrier Reef in 2015. The largest living structure on Earth, the worth of the reef has just been calculated at $56 billion, prompting calls for greater protection.
The ship company owner, Panama-based Globex Shipping, and its master, Kuk Hyun Jang, each are charged with two offenses under the Protection of the Sea Act for the incident in July 2015 that released some 15 tonnes of oil.
The oil fouled 40 kilometers of shoreline near Cape Upstart National Park. Sites affected by the oil spill include Forrest Beach on the mainland, Hinchinbrook Island and the Palm Island Group.
The lawsuit comes after a 12-month investigation that identified 17 ships that had been in the area 72 hours before the spill.
“This will be your worst look ever” we were warned as we wedged ourselves into skin-tight, full-body Lycra suits before slipping off a diving platform at the Great Barrier Reef.
Think giant sausages. Think — well, just don’t think. Because the prize at the end of this fashion “don’t” was the experience of a lifetime. It was a chance to slip into the warm Coral Sea and witness a teeny, tiny portion of the 2,300-km ecosystem off Australia’s north-east coast.
It was a chance to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A chance to see a living organism that can be seen from space.
Whether you’re an avid scuba diver or amateur snorkeler, a trip to the Great Barrier Reef should make everyone’s bucket list. Not only is it the world’s largest coral reef system, but the UNESCO World Heritage site is also one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Situated in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the massive turquoise-and-blue paradise stretches for more than 1,400 miles. So massive, in fact, that it can even be seen from outer space. But before you go, check out these eight handy tips, including where to fly into and the best time to visit (hint: avoid stinger season).
1. You Need a Visa
Unless you’re a New Zealand resident, tourists entering Australia need to apply for a visa.
WITH deserted beaches, ancient forests and magical wildlife, Southern Queensland’s Nature Coast is an escapist’s dream, finds Neil Geraghty.
At first, all I could see was a shadow moving beneath me. I was snorkelling off Lady Elliot Island on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, and my thoughts instantly turned to those lurid Australian shark attack stories you so often hear about. As the dark form ascended out of the blue depths, a feeling of panic swept over me – but when the familiar oval shape of a turtle came into view, I let out a sigh of relief. To my amazement he swam straight towards me, and before I knew it he was a mere two feet away from my face. Tentatively, I reached out to touch his shell and was astonished when he angled his back in my direction.