Increasingly bleak future for the Great Barrier Reef?

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The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority released it’s Outlook Report 2009 today (direct link to PDF’s here). The report is a independently peer reviewed assessement of the impacts of climate change, catchment runoff, fishing, coastal development and an array of other impacts on the reef. Alongside the report comes the signing of a new State and Federal Government plan to protect the GBR, tightening regulations for farmers and improving water quality in the GBR lagoon:

“This is about a renewed plan that is underpinned by new and ambitious targets,” Ms Bligh told Parliament today.

“… Through the measures identified in the renewed reef plan we aim by 2013 to halve the runoff of harmful nutrients and pesticides and ensure at least 80 per cent of agricultural enterprises and 50 per cent of grazing enterprises have adopted land management practices that will reduce runoff.”

Ms Bligh said the reef’s resilience had to be built up so it could cope with the effects of climate change, predicted to cause more frequent coral bleaching among other things.

“The poor quality of water running into the reef from catchments has been identified in report after report as a major threat,” she said.

Ms Bligh said two million people visited the coast between Bundaberg and Cairns each year, spending more than $5 million and underpinning 50,000 jobs in the tourism industry alone.

Fisheries contribute a further $290 million annually to the economy, she said.

“We must strike a delicate balance – a balance between making the most of this natural asset and affording it every protection possible,” she said. (Read More)

1 thought on “Increasingly bleak future for the Great Barrier Reef?

  1. Interesting report Ove, particularly Figure 5.2 “Projected vulnerabilities of components of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem to climate change” on page 10 at

    It seems to indicate that allowing CO2 to rise above 400 ppm CO2 would lead to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Do you know if GBRMPA is saying this clearly to its Minister, Peter Garrett?

    Is the take away message that Australia’s target should be to stabilise atmospheric CO2 beneath 400 ppm CO2 if we want to save the GBR?

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