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29 October 2007 - A welcome rescue plan for Great Barrier Reef       

A welcome rescue plan for Great Barrier Reef  

Sydney, 29 October 2007                

Humane Society International (HSI) welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s Great Barrier Reef Rescue Plan, announced today. This Plan represents a $200 million commitment to secure the long-term future of one of Australia’s most acclaimed and internationally recognised assets.

“Along with the cascading effects of climate change, heavy urbanisation and development of Australia’s coastal strip is damaging our once pristine reef habitats,” said Michael Kennedy, HSI Director. “The increased nutrient and sediment loads entering the reef catchments from land-use practices are perhaps the most immediate threats to the health of the Reef. The ALP’s Plan to monitor and improve water quality in these catchments will provide the foundation for urgent action to ameliorate the effects of eutrophication on this highly sensitive ecological system.”

Extending over 2000 kilometres and covering an area of 35 million hectares, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest World Heritage area, and the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem. Home to extensive areas of coral, seagrass, mangrove, fish, soft bottom and island communities, it is also one of the world’s richest areas of biodiversity, with 1500 species of fish, 350 species of hard coral, more than 4000 species of mollusc, 500 species of algae, 6 of the world’s 7 species of marine turtle, 24 species of seabird, more than 30 species of whale and dolphin and the dugong.

 “The release of the report, ‘Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment’, showed that recent science is predicting the Great Barrier Reef can not survive a rise in sea temperature of as little as 2 degrees over the next 100 years,” said Mr Kennedy. “In light of the increasing susceptibility of the Reef to environmental pressures, we welcome this initiative to tackle these growing threats head-on.”


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