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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

Jeff chats to… Jo Cutler, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Jo Cutler, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Jo’s film – An Evolving Story – can be seen here:

Fifth in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Stephan Whelan

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Stephan Whelan.  Stephan is the Founder and Publisher of DeeperBlue.com. His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years-old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans and led him to become one of the leading figures in the diving media industry.

Stephan got bitten by the diving bug early in life. His first scuba experience was a try-dive when he was eight years old on a family holiday in Europe, and from that moment, he was addicted. He learned to dive properly with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) as soon as he could at school and then did his BSAC Assistant Instructor when he turned 16. By the time he was heading to university in 1996, he was hooked on teaching and diving as much as he could.

By the time he started studying at university, he decided to have a go at flexing his web-design skills by publishing some of the stories he had built up about various ‘challenging’ students and dives he had encountered, and so deeperblue.net (as it was known then) was created. He published numerous personal stories until 1998 when other writers began enquiring about contributing to the site with their tales, and it was at this moment he decided to make it more like a magazine format and began asking for volunteer helpers. He got a couple of editors on board, and plenty of writers began contributing.

DeeperBlue.com (or DB as it’s become to be known) is now one of the most-popular diving websites in the world and has grown to publish over 9,000 articles covering all sorts of topics like Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy, and Diving Travel all the while keeping over half-a-million passionate divers from the diving community connected every month through the forums, large social media following, mobile app, and recently launched podcast.

WEB: deeperblue.com

FB: facebook.com/deeperbluedotcom

IG: instagram.com/deeperbluegram

Twitter: twitter.com/deeperblue

YouTube: youtube.com/deeperbluevideo

App: deeperblue.com/app/

Podcast: deeperblue.com/podcast/


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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