Australia to invest millions in Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Australia has allocated £274m towards conserving the Great Barrier Reef, as damage to the unique ecosystem spreads

Australia has pledged more than $500m Australian dollars (£274m) to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, in an attempt to protect the world heritage site from the effects of climate change.

In 2016, marine heat waves caused by global warming killed and damaged large expanses of coral. Much of the impact was felt along 500 miles of the northern Great Barrier Reef, its most pristine region.

The funding, announced on Sunday, is part of a conservation plan that will see the Australian government partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to monitor and improve the reef’s long term health.

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Described by the government as the largest ever single investment in reef conservation in Australia’s history, the money will go towards improving water quality, controlling coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish – a major predator – and expanding reef restoration schemes. It will also help preserve 64,000 jobs that depend on the reef, according to a statement from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Speaking to reporters after the project was unveiled, Australian environment minister Josh Frydenberg said the reef was under considerable pressure but that challenges could be overcome.

“The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it,” he was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as saying.

The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it

The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with some 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish. It is also home to a number of endangered species, including the large green turtle and the dugong (pictured below).

Featured image: The heart-shaped coral of Heart Reef is one of the most recognisable sights of the Great Barrier Reef

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