Friday, August 19, 2011

Protected reef

Coral reefs around the world are in trouble. An estimated 30 per cent are already severely damaged as a result of human influences such as development and overfishing, and global warming threatens to bleach thousands of kilometres of coral. Experts say close to 60 per cent of the world's coral reefs could be lost by 2030.

But Australia's precious reef systems could finally be receiving the protection they deserve following two momentous conservation decisions by state and federal governments this year.
First it was the iconic Great Barrier Reef, with an historic decision by the national government in December last year to extend no-fishing zones from five per cent of the reef to over 33 per cent, which equates to over 11 million hectares of marine park.
 
And now another of Australia's magnificent coral reef systems, Ningaloo Reef, has been given a greater chance at protection with a landmark conservation decision by the Western Australian government.

Following years of campaigning by WWF and others, sanctuary zones along Ningaloo Reef have been increased from 10 per cent to 34 per cent, and the marine park has been extended to include the whole of the reef.

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