Scientists have warned that the current strategies to save Australia's most scenic Great Barrier Reef might not be sufficient to save the world's coral from heat-induced bleaching. Science Alert has reported that experts have issued a warning and advised the government to "shift to a lesser, backup plan of maintaining the reef's ecological function."
"Scientists have told an Australian government committee that the current strategy to protect the reef – the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan – is unachievable in light of recent mass bleaching events, especially since the plan doesn't include steps to counter climate change," the report added.
Australia's most scenic Great Barrier Reef is fading at catastrophic rates, says study. Further, researchers say, the only way to save the world's coral from heat-induced bleaching is with a war on global warming.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science recently spent six hours flying over the reef between Townsville and Cairns, Australia. The survey found that bleaching is occurring in the central park of the park, which had escaped severe bleaching last year.
The vibrant colours draw thousands of tourists to the Great Barrier Reef each year and the rapid rise in water temperatures are leaving the corals in danger. Eventually, it gets bleached leaving a bleached white colour. Marine Park Authority Director of Reef Recovery Dr David Wachenfeld said the survey confirmed anecdotal reports from visitors and reef surveys of bleaching from marine park rangers and commercial operators.
"The concept of 'maintaining ecological function' refers to the balance of ecological processes necessary for the reef ecosystem as a whole to persist, but perhaps in a different form," a spokesperson for Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority explained to Science Alert, "noting the composition and structure may differ from what is currently seen today."
The Australian government launched AU$2 billion Reef 2050 plan last year to improve the value and life of the coral reef by 2050. However, the scientist group has warned that the current plan might not be successful in fulfilling the vision and will, in fact, contribute to the worst coral die-off ever recorded.