The Australian government has unveiled a $60 million funding package to protect the Great Barrier Reef from pollution and coral-eating organisms, and fund research. But environmentalists have slammed the plan for ignoring climate change.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday announced A$60 million in funding for an 18-month programme to help restore the health of the ailing Great Barrier Reef, but conservation and climate change activists have slammed the announcement as “nowhere near enough” to solve the problem.
Announced in a speech at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Queensland, the commitment will see A$10.4 million (US$8.3 million) spent on increasing the number of vessels that control populations of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish; A$36.6 million to incentivise farmers to reduce soil erosion and the amount of pollutants being washed into the ocean, and A$4.9 million to have more officers to monitor water quality and the health of the reef.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in a bit of trouble. Back-to-back coral bleaching events brought on by warming waters have devastated areas of the Reef over the past two years, and 2018 has brought another feisty and familiar foe: the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish. Things are so dire that the Australian government has announced a AU$60 million (US$48 million) plan to preserve the world’s largest living structure, including using submerged fans to pump cold water over the top of it and an “all-out assault” on the starfish. But environmental experts are wondering how much impact this likely to have, and whether it is simply a way of avoiding a larger, more complex issue.
What’s up with the reef?
Coral bleaching comes about as a result of abnormal sea conditions (such as warmer waters), which cause heat stress on the algae that lives inside the coral. This leads the coral to expel the algae from their tissue and, because the colorful algae are vital to their health, their departure leaves the coral whitened, withering and in danger of dying completely.
Sydney: Australia announced on Tuesday a fund of Australian $2 million ($1.59 million) for innovative ideas to save the Great Barrier Reef, a Unesco World Heritage site located of its northeast coast.
The fund is aimed at developing “innovative solutions which will protect corals and encourage the recovery of damaged reefs”, said Australian Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg in a statement, Efe news agency reported.
“The Reef is the planet’s greatest living wonder. The scale of the problem is big and big thinking is needed, but it’s important to remember that solutions can come from anywhere,” he added.
Queensland’s Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, urged innovative solutions, keeping in mind tourism, fishing and other sectors in the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef comprises 3,000 reefs and over 1,000 islands, and is spread over an area of 2,000 km.
As Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II hits TV screens, Sarah Marshall visits the world’s largest coral reef system.
There’s something universally irritating about noisy eaters, but below the surface of the ocean, dining etiquette doesn’t really apply.
Munching merrily on brittle stumps of branch coral, a shoal of rainbow-hued parrot fish is causing quite a commotion.
A black-tip reef shark wriggles to the silent safety of a shadowy jetty, white-spotted eagle rays flap their wings to pick up speed and giant clams appear to purse their thick blue lips in a concertina of disgust.
It’s restaurant rush hour off the shores of Heron Island, a coral cay sprouting with dense pisonia forest and ringed by a brilliant white halo of sand, off the east coast of Australia at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.
Like many families, visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia was high on our family’s bucket list. We hear so much about the bleaching of coral reefs that we decided this is an item we needed to tick off our list soon.
So we recently paid a visit to the largest coral reef in the world (the Reef stretches 2,300 km down the east coast of Australia). We learned you don’t have to be a scuba diver to enjoy this marine wonderland. Kids from toddlers to teenagers can find an age-appropriate way to explore the reef’s sea life.
Great Barrier Reef Tips
Where to Stay
There are a few key places where you can easily access the Reef.
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.
“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.
From a café overlooking the Eiffel Tower, a woman in Paris chatted with scientist David Wachenfeld as he scuba dived through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Their conversation streamed on Youtube and Google+Hangout as part of Reef Live: an interactive broadcast that took viewers on a virtual adventure through the World Heritage Site, also of the world’s Natural Wonders.
In conjunction with World Oceans Day (an international event to promote ocean conservation efforts), Reef Live brought together researchers like Wachenfeld and marine cinematographer Richard Fitzpatrick who connected with viewers from around the world via high-definition underwater cameras. They fielded questions submitted on Twitter and held discussions with guests. Click here to watch footage from Reef Live on the Queensland Youtube page.
Fitzpatrick said he wanted to help create something that not only felt like live television and but also engaged a younger, tech savvy generation.