Friday, November 1, 2013

Great Barrier Reef report warns of cumulative effect of development

Oliver Milman in the Guardian (UK): The health of the Great Barrier Reef is declining and requires an urgent "net benefit policy" to ensure development along the Queensland coast does no further damage to the vast coral ecosystem, according to a major government assessment.

The Great Barrier Reef strategic assessment warns that the reef faces numerous threats, including erosion of water quality, a plague of crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change, which is described as the "most serious long-term risk facing the reef".

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's report, which analysed the health of the World Heritage-listed marine park area, identified the need to reduce sediment, nitrogen and nutrient flows onto the reef. A parallel report, conducted by the Queensland government, looked at the condition of the coastline alongside the Great Barrier Reef.

The marine park assessment states that "urgent and effective" intervention is required. It proposes that a "net benefit policy" should ensure coastal activities produce an overall benefit to the reef, with more focus on the overall impact of human activities and weather events such as cyclones, rather than individual events....

A satellite image of the Great Barrier Reef, from NASA

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