Great Barrier Reef Destruction

"Great Barrier Reef Destruction - It can be stopped!"

I guess it's no surprise that this natural wonder is at threat given we hear so much these days about global warming. Sadly some researchers have said that the Great Barrier Reef could die within 50 to 100 years which is just devastating.

The impact if this happens would be catastrophic. Whilst most people see the reef as simply a tourist attraction, the effect it would have on marine life and even coastal towns in Queensland would be huge. This is because the reef currently protects the coastline but if the reef were to erode, there would be more waves and flooding hitting the coast.

This page will identify the key causes of destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and explain what, if anything, is being done about it and how you can play your part:

Destruction By Climate Change

Climate change causes sea temperatures to rise and when this happens Coral Bleaching can occur.

This is when the coral becomes out of balance and starts to lose its colour. Sometimes the coral can recover but other times it dies and it takes hundreds of years for new coral to grow.

Many fish rely on the coral to survive and if coral starts to die so will the many species of fish that are only seen on the Great Barrier Reef.

Clearly continuing to reduce carbon emissions in Australia and globally will help stabalise water temperatures.

You can help by choosing boat operators that care about reducing their carbon footprint. Sailaway for example uses Bio-Diesel, recycles on board and has a mandatory carbon off-setting contribution of $5 for every passenger.

Destruction By Pollution

The Reef needs good quality water to function properly - this is one of the main reasons that the reef is so far from the shore of the coast.

As polluted rivers flow into the sea, it impacts water quality. The use of pesticides in farming means that more and more polluted water is running into the sea and is reaching the Barrier Reef.

This impacts all the plants, coral and fish that live there and can have devastating consequences. The Queensland government are working hard to ensure cleaner water enters the sea to avoid this situation.

Disasters like oil spills are also a major risk to the reef. Many ships use the route around the reef and there is always a risk of running aground on the coral. There have been a huge number of shipwrecks as a result which can severely damage the coral.

Destruction By Fishing

Most of the Great Barrier Reef is now protected which means that fishing is not permitted on the reef.

Nets, anchors and the removal of fish from the food change can damage the coral and disrupt the balance of the food chain.

You can help by only taking fishing trips with approved charters.

Great Barrier Reef Destruction by Crown of Thorns Star Fish

Believe it or not but these star fish are having a dramatic impact on the great barrier reef destruction.

As water quality declines, swarms of Crown of Thorns Star Fish start to appear. They prey on the coral polyps which can kill the coral. An outbreak in 2000 is believed to have had a devastating impact on the Reef's coral

Improving the water quality will certainly help reduce these outbreaks.

What Can You Do To Help the Great Barrier Reef Destruction?

Over 2 million tourists visit the reef every year and that can certainly have a toll on the reef.

You can help by:

  • Not taking away coral as a souvenir
  • Being careful where you place your feet and walk so you don't break any coral
  • Take your litter home with you to avoid pollution
  • Choosing boat operators that are mindful where they anchor and care about reducing carbon foot print e.g. Sailaway

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