Published: Tue, May 01, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Australia to pay for Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Australia to pay for Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Given the severity of the situation, Australia has pledged more than 500 million Australian dollars ($379 million U.S.) to restore and protect the reef from the effects of climate change! "We want to secure the future of the reef for the benefit of all Australians, especially those who make a living with it", said Malcolm Turnbull.

Without a vigorous corals conservation plan, coupled with a "strong policy to reduce our carbon pollution, halt the Adani coal mine and move quickly to renewable energy in Australia, we will not see a future for the reef", reported Imogen Zethoven, a researcher at the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

"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".

The funds will also help with tracking threatening species and developing coral that's more resistant to high temperatures and light stress. This is a matter of concern because such bleaching was noticed in 1998 and 2002 but, appears to have become more frequent now probably due to climate change.

The money will be spent on reducing water pollution from agriculture, fighting coral-killing crown-of-thorns starfish, community engagement, reef monitoring, and research on climate adaptation. An additional $56 million will be used to expand environmental management and compliance operations on the Reef and to support additional investment.

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"Millions of dollars will go into science and to better data management and to be able to test the impacts on the reef", he added. These coral deaths, on the GBR and elsewhere, happened because warm waters stressed corals so much that they ejected the photosynthetic algae that they need to survive, leading to a pure white color - a process called bleaching.

But she said no amount of money could bring back those northern reefs that were impacted by the 2016 and 2017 mass bleaching event.

Frydenberg also stressed the importance of the reef to the Australian economy.

The funding, to be unveiled on Sunday and confirmed in the May budget, follows a recent study finding that 30% of the reef's corals died in a catastrophic nine-month marine heatwave in 2016. It's even visible from space. Annually, the reef has a worth of an estimated $3.7 billion, generated through fishing and tourism. Globally, the reefs form nurseries for a quarter of the world's fish.

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