Great Barrier Reef $500 million funding to breed resilient coral

30 April, 2018, 12:01 | Author: Rosalie Gross
  • Bleached coral Great Barrier Reef

Australia's chief scientist is congratulating the federal government on its promise to improve the quality of the Great Barrier Reef. Moreover, $58 million will be committed to fight crown-of-thorns starfish, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.

The funding, announced on Sunday ahead of the May budget, is targeted at reducing fertiliser use to minimise agricultural run-off and improve water quality.

According to research by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, coral cover on surveyed reefs between 1985 and 2012 declined by about 50% over that 27 year period.

Image: Bleached coral is photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas, February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace.

Unless the coral conservation plan is accompanied by a "strong policy, to slash our carbon pollution, stop the Adani coal mine and rapidly shift Australia to renewable energy, we will not see a future for the reef", said Imogen Zethoven of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australia's ABC News reports.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said 500 million Australian dollars ($379 million) would be set aside to help the reef, an important ecosystem and a global treasure, after years of devastating damage from warming waters caused by climate change.

"You can not protect the reef from puddles of warm water sitting over the entire northern GBR, together with all of the cyclones that came at the same time which were also climate-related".

"We must improve water quality". Crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for nearly half of this decline.

"You can't be serious about saving the reef without a serious plant to tackle climate change", he said.

"Clearly the government isn't investing in the entire Great Barrier Reef but importantly it will probably be investing in areas where we have targeted commercial interests - those tourists jobs", she said. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage", Dr Schubert said.

"Today's major investment brings real solutions within our grasp", he said.

The government, in a partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, will contribute $444 million. "These funds represent an unequalled opportunity to create a legacy of hope for future generations".

The federal government of Australia is allocating half a billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and other threats.

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