The Great Barrier Reef is protected by the Australian government, however the reef has suffered immense damage between 1985 and the current day. The decline in the coral reef quality and marine life can be attributed to many causes, mainly manmade. If you wish to visit the Great Barrier Reef, whilst it still offers areas that remain complete, now is the time to do so. The Cairns is famous for being “the gateway” to the barrier reef which offers fantastic opportunities for the tourist to see complete areas of the reef. There are many tours, diving, snorkeling and flight opportunities to enable you to see the reef up close.So, why are the coral reefs in a state of decline?
Climate change is considered to be the main threat to the future of The Great Barrier Reef. The recent phenomena of the coral becoming bleached can be attributed to the rise in sea temperatures caused by global warming. The coral is sensitive to even the tiniest of fluctuations in temperature and it’s potentially devastating to the coral ecosystem. Climate change also increases the frequency of severe weather, which in turn causes damage. The acidity levels of our oceans have also increased caused by the CO2 levels produced by humans being increased. The oceans have absorbed at least 30% of the CO2 produced by man, which has led to an increase in PH levels of the seas. Fluctuations in acidity levels affects the corals ability to form skeletons as well as affects marine life.Poor water quality
The water quality around the coral reef areas has declined due to water running off the land. Often the water runs off land which is rich in agricultural nutrients which in turn increases algae production as well as causes the water to become contaminated.Fishing
Fishing in coral reef areas is strictly regulated in order to preserve the delicate ecosystems. However illegal fishing has caused a negative impact on the marine life balance.Coastal development
Another cause of the decline in the Great Barrier Reef is tourism and coastal development. Litter, waste and building debris all contributes to a negative impact on the health of the coral reef.Thankfully there are now actions being put into place in order to preserve the future of the coral reef. If everyone works together in seeking solutions the future of the reef should be protected for further generations. Climate change has appeared on agendas around the world, cooperation on a worldwide level is required to achieve the goal of preserving the reef.