Australia pledges millions for reef, conservationists skeptical

Australia pledges millions for reef, conservationists skeptical

Australia has pledged more than 500 million Australian dollars ($379 miillion) to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, in an attempt to help better protect the world heritage site from the effects of climate change.

The money would be used to improve water quality, control a major predator, invest in coral restoration and enhance underwater monitoring.

The funding will be confirmed in the May budget, according to the newspaper.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to some 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of molluscs, and contributes some AU$6.4 billion annually to the country's economy.

Although some fear that much of the damage can not be undone, John Schubert, chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, believes that the government's attention gives the reef "real hope".

"The money will go towards improving water quality, working with farmers to prevent sediment, nitrogen and pesticide runoff into the reef", said Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.

"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 welcome the investment in the #GBR, particularly funding for science to support reef resilience and adaptation, but the science advises us the #GBR is highly vulnerable to climate change", the academy said a statement on Twitter, using a hashtag to refer to the Great Barrier Reef.

But the cash splash has been met with criticism from conservationists who have accused the government of not doing enough to address the thing that poses the biggest threat to the reef, climate change.

It was the largest single investment yet to protect the reef, secure its viability and the 64 000 jobs that relied on the reef, Turnbull said. "And we must unlock new scientific insights that can help restore the reefs that have suffered damage", Dr Schubert said.

"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.

An underwater photographer documents an expanse of dead coral at Lizard Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

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

Agricultural run-off from sugar cane farms and cattle stations has also harmed the section of reef that is closest to shore, according to Bradley Opdike, a marine scientist at the Australian National University.

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