Australia wants to contribute another financial package to protect the endangered Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast. She said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government would invest 63.6 million Australian dollars (43 million euros) specifically in scientific research to conserve coral reefs. Ultimately, this will not only protect coral reefs, but the thousands of jobs and businesses that depend on the natural wonder.
The new financial package will mainly benefit the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), which has been researching and monitoring coral reefs for the past 35 years. “Australia’s leadership in coral reef management and research is second to none and this new investment will ensure we continue to be at the forefront,” Morrison said.
Coral bleaching as an imminent danger
Just last week, experts warned that the Great Barrier Reef was once again subjected to dangerous coral bleaching due to rising sea temperatures. Aerial images showed widespread bleaching along about 2,300 kilometers of the World Heritage site, according to the Marine Parks Authority responsible for coral reefs (GBRMPA). Coral experts say it may be a new mass bleaching event. It will rank sixth overall and fourth in just six years after 2016, 2017 and 2020.
Experts have long warned that rising seas could soon wipe out the 25-million-year-old glory visible to the naked eye from space. When the water temperatures were too high, the hollows shed the algae responsible for their coloration, with which they lived in a mutually beneficial community. Reports of a new mass bleaching risk came just days before officials from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee arrived to assess the reefs.
In 2021, UNESCO threatened to put coral reefs on the Red List of World Heritage in Danger. However, under pressure from the Australian government, it barely escaped the downgrade. Natural wonders will not be discussed again until 2023. Morrison recently announced a comprehensive package of measures to protect coral reefs amounting to A$1 billion for various projects.
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