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Thursday, 14 August 2014

‘Poor’ outlook for Barrier Reef due to climate change

SYDNEY: Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef and the outlook for the natural wonder is “poor”, an Australian government report has warned.

The World Heritage site on the north-east coast is “under pressure” and its capacity to recover could be weakening, said the report from the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, released on Tuesday.

“Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef,” the report said.

“It is already affecting the reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come.”

The marine park authority said that despite actions taken to protect the area since its last report in 2009, “the greatest risks to the Great Barrier Reef have not changed”.

“Climate change, poor water quality from land-based run-off, impacts from coastal development, and some remaining impacts of fishing remain the major threats to the future vitality of the Great Barrier Reef,” it noted.

It added that “the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor”.

“Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the Great Barrier Reef and to improve its capacity to recover.”

The report – which included contributions from the Australian and Queensland state governments – came two months after Unesco deferred listing the reef as in danger.

The UN cultural body gave Australia until Feb 1, 2015 to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the biodiverse site. — AFP

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