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Plan won’t save Great Barrier Reef say Australian scientists

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Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier ReefThe Australian government’s plans to protect the Great Barrier Reef are inadequate, short-sighted and will not prevent its decline, the country’s leading group of natural scientists said today.

The draft plan, released for consultation last month, was supposed to diminish concerns by the United Nations about the reef’s health after UNESCO threatened to put it on the World Heritage “in danger” list.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said the proposal reflects an effort to balance the priorities of protecting the reef, which is teeming with marine life, and long-term sustainable development.

But the Australian Academy of Science warned that the plan ignored the impact of climate change and failed to address problems with poor water quality, coastal development and fishing.

“The science is clear: the reef is degraded and its condition is worsening. This is a plan that won’t restore the reef; it won’t even maintain it in its already diminished state,” academy fellow Terry Hughes said.

“The plan also seems overly focused on the short-term task of addressing UNESCO’s concerns about the reef’s World Heritage Listing, rather than the longer-term challenges of restoring the values of the reef.”

Hughes said while the plan identified targets for reducing harmful agricultural run-off, any improvements would likely be lost in the unprecedented amount of dredging for coal ports and the Queensland state government’s plans to double agricultural production by 2040.

The survival of the reef depended on a reduction in pollution from run-off and dredging, less fishing and a decrease in carbon emissions from fossil fuels, he said.

A spokesman for Minister Hunt said the “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan” states the government’s vision to improve the health of the reef over successive decades.

“We note the Academy is calling for such a vision, and it is front and centre of what we are working to achieve,” he said.

He said the plan acknowledged that climate change was a global problem requiring global action, and was being addressed by the government through other policies.

The draft, prepared by the Australian and Queensland governments, calls for greater coordination between authorities in relation to the reef, a proposal welcomed by environmentalists.

It also urges a 10-year ban on dredging to develop new ports or to expand existing ones both inside and next to the World Heritage site – apart from in priority port development areas.

And it bans future port developments in the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay and North Curtis Island near Rockhampton – areas of the reef described by environmentalists as key incubators of marine life.

But environmentalists have criticised the draft as not setting high enough targets for cutting agricultural pollution or providing the billions of dollars required to restore the health of the reef.

With the government’s final reef plan due in December, WWF Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society called for stronger action to protect the major tourist attraction.

“The reef is one of the world’s great natural wonders and we cannot allow it to be turned into an industrial park and a shipping super-highway,” campaigner Felicity Wishart said.

The colourful coral faces a number of pressures including climate change, poor water quality from land-based runoff, the crown-of-thorns starfish, which eat coral, and the impacts of fishing and coastal development.

 

Source: uk.news.yahoo.com

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Take an immersive dive below the waves off the Welsh coast using 360 VR: Common Spider Crab (Watch Video)

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A week-long series from Jake Davies…

Below the waves off the Welsh coast, there are a range of species and habitats that can be seen. However, you don’t have to venture too far from the shore to see them or don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Using 360 videos provides an immersive feeling of being below the water and encountering many species and habitats from diving one of the most important habitats and species that aren’t often seen whilst diving. For more of an experience of being below the waves, the VR videos can be viewed using a VR headset.

Take a VR dive just off the shore and explore what can be found within the shallow waters of a sandy beach. Fish can be founding cruising amongst the seaweed and numerous crustacean (Crabs, lobster, prawns, shrimps) species can be found walking around the seafloor. Common Spider Crabs (Maja brachydactyla) are one of the largest crabs species found along the coast and during the early summer, they aggregate in large numbers to moult which allows them to grow.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Dive Training Blogs

Join Me On My Commute To Scuba Diving Key Largo! (Watch Video)

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Sunrise was so beautiful the other morning, I wanted to take a time lapse of my drive from home in South Miami to Key Largo before morning dives with Horizon Divers.

I thought you might enjoy taking the ride with me! Silly I know! But here’s 2 minutes of chill!

D.S.D.O,

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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