The Australian Great Barrier Reef, in more danger than we think ?

The Australian Great Barrier Reef, in more danger than we think ?

The Great Barrier Reef was classified by Unesco in 1981 as a protected site, but sadly failed to be added to the list of endangered sites in 2015.

A report on the state of The Australian Great Barrier Reef was published on October 20th, and it’s not looking good! The reef is currently experiencing an increasingly frequent phenomenon of ‘bleaching’, affecting 345 000 square kilometers, and unless something is done it could continue to occur annually until 2025. This phenomenon, which last happened in June is the result of rising water temperatures, which is a consequence of global warming, but also El Niño. The impact was a high mortality rate of wildlife species (eg. corals, algae …).

One difficulty is the ambiguity given by the Australian government: on one side Mr. Frydenberg, Minister of the Environment, recognizes the need to improve measures taken to protect the Great Barrier Reef following the results of the report which indicated a rapidly decreasing quality of water, health of the sea bed and coral. For the fifth consecutive year, the report findings have attributed the site of natural beauty and biodiversity with the rating “D”. Yet on the other hand, the extension of a large port in Queensland, the Abbot Point, only accentuates the endangerment of the barrier.

According to Jean-Pierre Gattuso, research director at the Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche, France, despite efforts made over many years to protect the reef, have not been satisfactory. The creation of reserves, (by local measures on the sidelines of the COP21), could help to reduce the factors causing the bleaching of the coral, in particular prohibiting fishing and the dumping of sewage… but will it really be enough to save it?