Approved by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the permit clears the way for a major expansion of the Abbot Point Port for a joint venture between one local and two Indian firms. The dredging of the sediment will lift the Abbot Point facility's capacity by 70 percent, making it one of the world's biggest coal ports. But there has been criticism of the decision to dump the sediment within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with the smothering of coral and sea grass one potential risk. Increased shipping traffic - bringing with it the chance of accidents, oil spills and collisions with delicate coral beds - is another concern for environmental groups. "We are devastated. I think any Australian or anyone around the world who cares about the future of the reef is also devastated by this decision," said Richard Leck, reef campaign leader for the international conservation group World Wildlife Fund. "Exactly the wrong thing that you want to do when an ecosystem is … [Read more...] about Dumping plan for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef gets green light
Australias great barrier reef
The report issued on Monday by the government of the state of Queensland, where the Great Barrier Reef is located, concluded that the 2,300-kilometer (1,429-mile) coral reef was in poor condition and facing a great threat from waters that are warming and becoming more acidic. The report found additionally that only 13 percent of sugar-cane growers were using recommended best-practice procedures for nutrients and only 30 percent for pesticides, meaning that runoff from agricultural land continues to cause damage to the reef. However, grain farmers were close to achieving targets, and graziers were making good progress, the report said. But it said that despite all attempts to save the reef, it had still lost half of its coral cover over the past 30 years. 'Bad report card' Queensland's Environment Minister Steven Miles from the ruling Labor Party voiced concern at the report's findings. "If one of my kids came home with a report card like this, I'd be a bit disappointed," he … [Read more...] about Attempts to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are failing: report
The US 7th Fleet said in a statement that two Harrier aircraft dropped the bombs in an "emergency jettison" during a training exercise in the region in the northeastern state of Queensland. None of the bombs exploded "The selected emergency jettison area was in a deep channel away from the reef to minimize the possibility of reef damage," the statement said. "It is approximately 50 to 60 meters (55 to 66 yards) deep and does not pose a hazard to shipping or navigation." The navy said the jets had jettisoned the bombs because they were low on fuel and unable to land with their bomb load. Originally, the bombs, two inert and two unarmed explosive bombs, were to be dropped on the Townshend Island bombing range, but the mission was aborted when hazards were reported in the area. The emergency occurred on the second day of a three-week biennial joint training exercise known as Talisman Saber. The war games involved about 28,000 Australian and US military personnel. Environmental … [Read more...] about US fighters jettison unarmed bombs near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
Researchers drew the conclusion based on data from aerial and underwater surveys after the bleaching became evident in March this year. "We found on average, that 35 percent of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea," Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, said in a statement. "This is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than we've measured before," Hughes said. Bleaching occurs when abnormal conditions, including warmer sea temperatures, trigger corals to release tiny photosynthetic algae. This drains the organisms of their color and affects their ability to reproduce. According to the statement, corals off Australia's west coast have been severely damaged, with "extensive and … [Read more...] about Great Barrier Reef corals threatened by mass bleaching
"The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old," reads the first line of a controversial obituary published last week by Outside Magazine, an American publication focused on outdoor recreation. The obituary has since been shared more than a million times - and has sparked a lively discussion on social media. Many social media users mourned the Great Barrier Reef and expressed their sadness. Others, however, were confused and unsure about the legitimacy of the obituary, which was likely intended as tongue-in-cheek. Angry counter-articles quickly followed, pointing out that the reef is, in fact, still quite alive. The Huffington Post wrote: "Dead and dying are two very different things," and warned that "overstatements about the state of our planet (…) can cause people to lose hope." So, is the Great Barrier really dead? No, says Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the Australian Research … [Read more...] about Great Barrier Reef: ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated’
Scientists confirmed the largest die-off of coral ever recorded in Australia's renowned Great Barrier Reef on Monday, saying 67 percent of shallow-water corals in its northern region have been lost over the past eight to nine months. "Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef," said Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which has led aerial surveys of the damage, in a statement. "This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected." It's the third time in 18 years that the 2300-kilometer reef system has undergone mass bleaching as a result of global warming and strong El Ninos. But the current event is said to be the worst on record, partly triggered by warmer underwater temperatures over the past year. Corals can only survive within a narrow … [Read more...] about Largest ever coral die-off confirmed on Great Barrier Reef
Australia's Great Barrier Reef, already reeling from a severe bleaching event last year, has suffered another devastating blow this year, aerial surveys released this weekend reveal. Last year the reef, the largest living structure on Earth stretching over an area the size of Italy, saw the largest coral die-off ever recorded. In the reef's Northern region, 67 percent of shallow-water corals were affected. This year's bleaching impacted an area the same size, but further South. The southern creep is sparking fears that the corals are now bleaching at a rate from which they cannot recover. Mark Read, manager of operations support at the Australian government's Marine Park Authority tasked with preserving the reef, says that such back-to-back bleaching incidents are extremely rare. "In a normal year you get an accumulation of heat in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in summer time, and it usually dissipates as we move into winter," he told … [Read more...] about Second blow of coral bleaching devastates Great Barrier Reef
It's a tranquil afternoon on the Whitsunday Islands at the southern end of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A tour boat sits moored on a thin slice of white sand as snorkelers marvel at coral beneath crystal clear waters. But the boat's captain, Mike Evans, says these days some visitors have worries on their minds. "I've actually had a few people tell me that they've come to see the reef before it's too late," he told DW. "I tell them that our area's fine but they are having bleaching problems up north." Lost treasure? Last year, there were reports of the largest coral die-off ever recorded at the Great Barrier Reef. The reef's northern region lost 67 percent of its shallow-water corals in 2016, prompting some media to claim the reef was "already dead." The damage didn't extend as far south as the Whitsunday Islands. But tour operators in the coastal town of Airlie Beach, where visitors disembark to explore the islands, say more and more people are coming to see the reef before it … [Read more...] about Can tourism protect the Great Barrier Reef?
The future of the Great Barrier Reef is in doubt, as it struggles to recover from a second severe bleaching event as a result of warmer ocean temperatures thought to be linked to climate change. But a group of marine scientists in Australia are hopeful the reef could yet be saved - by artificially engineering brighter clouds to reflect back the sun's rays and keep the waters cool. Over the past six months, researchers at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and the Ocean Technology Group at the University of Sydney have been investigating the use of marine cloud brightening technology (MCB) on low-lying clouds over the Great Barrier Reef. The idea is that spraying salt into the atmosphere will encourage greater droplet formation, resulting in larger, denser clouds. Last resort Brightening the clouds above the Great Barrier Reef was suggested as a last-ditch bid to protect the world's biggest reef system from further catastrophic bleaching. Postdoctoral research assistant Daniel … [Read more...] about Could manmade clouds save the Great Barrier Reef?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a report released by its Paris headquarters on Thursday that it had recommended that the marine park of the Australian coast be considered for inclusion on the danger list. The report said UNESCO had "noted with concern" and "regrets" a decision by the Australian government in January to grant a permit to dump three million cubic meters of dredge waste around 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the reef. It also said the permit "was approved despite an indication that less-impacting disposal alternatives may exist." The waste is to come from the Abbott Point area and is part of plans to expand the port there. The report recommended that the Reef be put on the danger list at a meeting next year "in the absence of substantial progress on key issues." The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) supported the UNESCO warning. "UNESCO'S concern is shared by thousands of Australians and hundreds of leading scientists and … [Read more...] about UNESCO expresses alarm, warns Australia over Great Barrier Reef