Australia Investing $350M to Save Great Barrier Reef

The package will help develop coral that is more resistant to high temperatures and light stress

The Australian government will allocate $500 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and reduce pollution, local media reported Sunday.

The funding, to be unveiled on Sunday and confirmed in the May budget, follows a recent study finding that 30% of the reef's corals died in a catastrophic nine-month marine heatwave in 2016.

But researchers and wildlife activists caution that the 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef is now confronting a massive collapse as the global warming raises the water temperature and the acidity of the ocean, resulting in widespread coral bleaching.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said the Reef's destruction could be pinned on fossil fuels.

In conclusion, Australian government planned on investing $500 million AUD (about $379 million USD) to save the already damaged Great Barrier Reef.

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The reef was listed as a world heritage site in 1981 by the United Nations cultural body Unesco.

It found that 29% of the 3,863 reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef lost two-thirds or more of their corals.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg insists the government is trying to turn that around.

The 348,000 square kilometer reef along the northeastern coast of Australia, the largest coral reef in the world, has suffered severe bleaching events due to temperature increases of the water.

"We urge the government to address the cause of the problem".

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- AU$58m to expand the fight against the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

Working on the Northern Great Barrier Reef, the British-led global team of scientists built experimental reefs from coral rubble on sand flats.

Senior author Steve Simpson, Associate Professor in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter, said: "Over the last 15 years my research group have discovered how important sound can be for fish to locate and select specific reefs".

"Millions of dollars will go into science and to better data management and to be able to test the impacts on the reef".

- AU$201m to further improve water quality with changed farming practices, such as reduced fertiliser use, and adopting new technologies and land management practices.

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