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Old 02-10-12, 03:10   #1
 
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Earth FULL 1 Hour VIDEO=Great Barrier Reef Being Destroyed!

Great Barrier Reef Loses More than Half its Coral Cover

Population explosion of coral-eating starfish, storms and acidification of oceans causing rapid decline, study finds

  • Guardian UK, Monday 1 October 2012


Bleached coral at the Keppel Islands on the southern Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. Photograph: Reuters

Coral cover in the Great Barrier Reef has dropped by more than half over the last 27 years, according to scientists, a result of increased storms, bleaching and predation by population explosions of a starfish which sucks away the coral's nutrients.

At present rates of decline, the coral cover will halve again within a decade, though scientists said the reef could recover if the crown-of-thorns starfish can be brought under control and, longer term, global carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.

"This latest study provides compelling evidence that the cumulative impacts of storms, crown-of-thorns starfish (Cots) and two bleaching events have had a devastating effect on the reef over the last three decades," said John Gunn, chief executive of the
Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Coral reefs are an important part of the marine ecosystem as sources of food and as protection for young fish. They are under threat around the world from the effects of bleaching, due to rising ocean temperatures, and increasing acidification of the oceans, which reduces the corals' ability to build their calcium carbonate structures.

The Great Barrier Reef is the most iconic coral reef in the world, listed as a Unesco world heritage site and the source of $A5bn (£3.2bn) a year to the Australian economy through tourism. The observations of its decline are based on more than 2,000 surveys of 214 reefs between 1985 and 2012. The results showed a decline in coral cover from 28% to 13.8% – an average of 0.53% a year and a total loss of 50.7% over the 27-year period. The study was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal (subscription).

Two-thirds of the coral loss has occurred since 1998 and the rate of decline has increased in recent years, averaging around 1.45% a year since 2006. "If the trend continued, coral cover could halve again by 2022," said Peter Doherty, a research fellow at the institute.

Tropical cyclones, predation by Cots, and bleaching accounted for 48%, 42%,and 10% of the respective estimated losses. In the past seven years the reef has been affected by six major cyclones. Cyclone Hamish, for example, ran along the reef, parallel to the coast for almost 930 miles (1,500km), leaving a trail of destruction much greater than the average cyclone, which usually crosses the reef on a path perpendicular to the coast.

The starfish problem was first recorded in 1962 at Green Island off Cairns. "When we say outbreaks, we mean explosions of Cots populations to a level where the numbers are so large that they end up eating upwards of 90% of a reef's coral," Gunn said. "Since 1962 there have been major outbreaks every 13-14 years."

The evidence suggests that outbreaks of Cots start two or three years after major floods in northern rivers.

In September, scientists at the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced that Caribbean coral reefs are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover. The collapse was due to environmental issues, including over-exploitation, pollution and climate change.

David Curnick, marine and freshwater programme co-ordinator at the Zoological Society of London, said many of the most endangered coral species around the world were also under severe pressure from the aquarium trade.

"Corals are notoriously hard to propagate in captivity and therefore the trade is still heavily dependent on harvesting from the wild."."

He said the results of the Great Barrier Reef survey were not surprising and the challenge for conservationists was to limit the localised threats to give reefs a chance to recover and develop resilience against the effects of climate change. "This is challenging but entirely achievable and there are many community-led projects around the world demonstrating this."

Corals can recover if given the chance. But this is slow – in the absence of cyclones, Cots and bleaching, the Great Barrier Reef can regrow at a rate of 2.85% a year, the scientists wrote. Removing the Cots problem alone would allow coral cover to increase at 0.89% a year.

Reducing Cots means improving water quality around the rivers at the northern end of the reef to reduce agricultural run-off – high levels of nutrients flowing off the land feed and allow high survival of Cots larvae. Another option is some form of biological control of populations – Gunn said there were promising results from research on naturally occurring pathogens that could keep Cots in check, but it was not ready to be applied in the field.

He said the future of the Reef lay partly in human hands. "We can achieve better water quality, we can tackle the challenge of crown-of-thorns, and we can continue to work to ensure the resilience of the reef to climate change is enhanced. However, its future also lies with the global response to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The coral decline revealed by this study – shocking as it is – has happened before the most severe impacts of ocean warming and acidification associated with climate change have kicked in, so we undoubtedly have more challenges ahead."
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Old 23-10-14, 16:57   #2
 
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Update re: FULL 1 Hour VIDEO=Great Barrier Reef Being Destroyed!

'These Areas Are Too Precious': New Pictures Reveal The Impact Dredging and Dumping has on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

  • A ship was photographed dredging in Cairns
  • The images reveal the impact the activity has on Australia's Great Barrier Reef Heritage Area
  • Lissa Schindler from the Australian Marine Conservation Society has spoken out against the activity, warning it will destroy the tourism and fishing industry
By Marielle Simon for Daily Mail Australia. Posted 23 October 2014


New pictures show the effects dredging and dumping has on Australia's Great Barrier Reef Heritage Area, after a ship was photographed dredging in Cairns' waters, north-Queensland.


Dredging removes sediments from the bottom of harbours, lakes and rivers. It is also used to avoid the spread of contamination that could pose as a risk to fish, wildlife and people.


BEFORE:





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AFTER:









Lissa Schindler from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said these images reveal the impact dredging has on our waters, which is a problem that extends across the whole Great Barrier Reef Coastline.

'There are proposals for millions of cubic metres of dredging from new projects that could be dumped in Reef waters,' Ms Schindler said.

She said the act of dredging needs to be maintained, therefore once it starts it can never stop.

'The current proposal to build a new cruise ship terminal in Cairns would involve 4.4 million cubic metres of capital dredging to establish a larger shipping channel, which would require a significant amount of maintenance dredging every year after that,' she said.

Ms Schindler insists this type of activity destroys the environment and will eventually affect tourism and the fishing industry.

'It’s vital we protect the 63,000 jobs and $6 billion the Reef brings to the QLD economy by creating a sustainable approach to the environment, jobs and the economy.'

Ms Schindler pointed to the beauty of these areas like the Great Barrier Reef and said they were too 'precious' to be used as a dumping ground for rocks and muds.

AMCS is an independent charity that aims to protect Australia's ocean wildlife.

Scroll down for video





New pictures of a ship undergoing routine dredging in Cairns



The images show how dredging and dumping can destroy our oceans, like the Great Barrier Reef



Dredging removes sediments from the bottom of harbours, lakes and rivers and it is also used to avoid the spread of contamination that could pose as a risk to fish, wildlife and people







Lissa Schindler from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said these images reveal the impact dredging has on our waters and extends across the whole Great Barrier Reef Coastline



Once you begin dredging the activity has to be maintained and continued



Ms Schindler insists this type of activity destroys the environment and will eventually affect tourism and the fishing industry



Currently, there is a proposal to build a new cruise ship terminal in Cairns. This would involve 4.4 million cubic metres of capital dredging to establish a larger shipping channel



MORE:

Great Barrier Reef on Brink of Devastation in Relentless Quest for Coal

Sydney Morning Herald. Posted 23 October 2014


The Queensland and federal governments' mining push is a catastrophe in the making, writes Dr. Helen Caldicott and Reese Halter.





"A war is being conducted against nature on our reef."



The rampant destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, given the green light last February by the federal government, epitomises the values of our modern world. "Economic development" and "jobs" reign supreme while our reef, one of the seven wonders of the world, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is in great jeopardy.

Home to endangered dugongs, glorious endangered sea turtles and corals, it is seething with life rich in biodiversity containing many potential medications to treat cancer and other diseases. The preservation of this unique treasure is now secondary to the voracious greed on the part of Queensland and federal governments and some individuals to export coal.

By 2030 Australia is predicted to increase its export of coal from 240 million tonnes this year to 787 million tonnes in 2030. Queensland's liquefied natural gas and coal exports are soaring in order to deliver atmospheric-warming carbon fuels to satisfy Chinese and Indian markets.

The ports of Gladstone and Abbot Point are poised to become the busiest in the world. In 2011, the shipping industry alone increased our export trade coffers by $38 billion. In 2012, 3950 ships entered these Great Barrier Reef ports and these numbers are set to treble by 2030.

A war is being conducted against nature on our reef. All countries by international law are required to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species. But in Queensland since the 1960s the plant-eating dugong population has plummeted by over 97 per cent in the quest to feed ravenous energy markets and to promote urban coastal growth. Dugongs depend on sea-grass meadows to provide them with food. Those saline meadows also offer crucial habitat for a wide array of plants and other sea life, including sea turtles.


This fecund zone is of cardinal importance for not only cycling nutrients that sustain all coastal sea-life, but it protects the reef from land-based toxicity that enters the sea. The reef's magnificent natural shield has been impregnated. The acidification of the ocean as a result of global warming further compromises the structure of the corals.

Then there is the problem of noise. The Queensland and federal governments are aware that noise pollution can have a detrimental effect on oceanic wildlife including all the biological processes that take place within the reef itself. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles and dugongs are at risk from noise pollution as they incur cardiovascular and autoimmune stresses. Animals ranging from blue whales to the coral clown fish cease feeding and noise pollution prevents mating.
Yet no government noise regulation has been imposed on industry to curtail the final death knell for Earth's greatest reef.

The 2012 United Nations World Heritage meeting in Paris warned of the deadly consequences associated with increasing noise pollution associated with shipping, sub-sea construction and the use of exploratory sonar which causes mass stranding of whales and dolphins. The UN convention on Law Of The Sea states that all countries are to lessen under-sea noise pollution, including vessel noise and sub-sea construction equipment.

But as well as noise pollution, the ongoing damage is extraordinary. To create three liquefied natural gas terminals on Curtis Island near Gladstone, 21 million tonnes of material were dredged. This irreparably destroyed the seabed, enormous plumes of sediment were released, fish were killed en masse and the bund wall containing land-dumped dredging was breached, causing a vast toxic algal bloom.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Greg Hunt has authorised the Abbot Point port to dredge 3 million tonnes from the seabed to create six new coal ship berths.


These developments signal the beginning of ongoing massive port constructions adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. And what are we doing in the face of this catastrophe?

We are devastating an extraordinarily beautiful natural wonder so we can heat up the planet and in the process destroy many forms of life.


Great Barrier Reef -(As it Used to Be) -Nature's Miracles =FULL Documentary:


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