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World’s Largest Coral System, Great Barrier Reef may Figure in UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage in Danger’ List

It was due to the warming of sea water and an increase in its acidity through the increased presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

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Great Barrier Reef. Pixabay
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Sydney, December 2, 2016: The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral system off the coast of Australia, is at a high risk of being included in Unesco’s ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list, an official said on Friday.

Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Steven Miles told ABC news that the latest case of coral bleaching has increased the likelihood that Unesco will include the Reef on its Red List.

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The current bleaching was the worst recorded on the Reef caused by record high water temperatures, Efe news reported.

The Australia government had sent the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation its Reef 2050 Plan, a document that outlines management measures for the next 35 years in those areas.

It was approved in 2015 to prevent the Great Barrier from being declared in danger.

The report noted that 32 of the 151 actions planned in the first five years were completed, focusing on managing the impact from ports and dredging, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

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However, since then there was catastrophic bleaching event, as well as the Queensland’s Parliament failed to pass the land clearing laws.

“These two things together increased the risk there will be that level of attention,” Miles told ABC.

Bleaching has killed 67 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and experts estimate that it would take at least 10 to 15 years for the coral in the northernmost, the most affected area, to recover.

The Australian World Wildlife Fund (WWF) questioned the progress made in the government’s report and denounced the failure to comply with measures to improve water quality, such as the regulation of land clearing.

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Th health of the Great Barrier Reef, home to hundreds of types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and some 4,000 types of molluscs, began deteriorating in the 1990s.

It was due to the warming of sea water and an increase in its acidity through the increased presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (IANS)

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Australia’s Use Of Drumlines Is Killing Endangered Shark Species

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef.

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Great Barrier Reef, Pixabay

Protectionist groups on Tuesday warned that Australia’s use of drumlines under the country’s Shark Control Programme in the Great Barrier Reef is killing endangered shark species.

Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society released a series of photographs and videos of two endangered scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) found dead on a line near Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Efe news reported.

“Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef,” Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International, said in a statement.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

“Lethal drumlines provide nothing more than a completely false sense of security, at the expense of the lives of threatened species that are crucial to our Great Barrier Reef ecosystem,” she added.

Tooni Mahto, a campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said these “same ineffective, lethal methods” have been used by successive Queensland governments since the 1960s.

She called “for a change in our views of sharks and a change in policy to reflect that.”

According to Shark Control Programme statistics, 10,480 sharks – many of them innocuous – have been caught on lethal drumlines since 2001 in the Great Barrier Reef, declared a World Heritage area.

The Great Barrier Reef, Sharks
Lethal drumlines are an old and ineffective method of bather protection. They catch and kill hundreds of non-target marine animals in the Great Barrier Reef. Flickr

It has also killed a significant numbers of rays, turtles, fish and dolphins.

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“Humane Society International is currently engaged in legal action against the QLD Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for shark culling on lethal drumlines within the World Heritage-listed reef,” the statement said.

There are 173 drumlines that operate within the Great Barrier Reef, although the Queensland government has removed seven of the 26 species of shark from its target list since the legal challenge was launched. (IANS)