A woman with her daughter waits for an ambulance after a car crash near a tourist spot in Darwin’s CBD on April 18, 2018.
(Photo: Mark Ralston, AAP)The Great Barrier Reef is facing a serious decline in the past decade, according to a new report by a new government agency.
A report released last week by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) found the reef’s natural ecosystems are on the brink of collapse, and that a lack of investment is causing the reef to deteriorate.
The report, which analysed data on more than 30,000 species, found the Great Barrier Coast has the highest extinction rate in the world, with nearly half of the species being extinct or threatened.
It found that more than 70% of the world’s coral species were under threat.
The findings also showed the reef faces “potentially catastrophic” threats to the reef and its people, and there is a “serious risk of extinction”.
The report is being released ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Great Flood, which wiped out nearly 90% of all coral reef species on the Great Australian Bight.
The Great Flood killed millions of animals, including whales, turtles and birds, and left a deep scar on the reef.
The research, which was done for the Government’s Department of the Environment, said the reef could face an even greater threat from climate change, with more intense storms, and warmer waters and currents.
The new report found the rate of extinction of coral reef fish is rising rapidly, with many species being on the verge of extinction.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” said Dr Julie Gartrell, who co-authored the report with Associate Professor James Kiefer from the University of New South Wales.
“The Great Australian Bay is a very important ecosystem for the Great Reef, and the Great Ocean Barrier Reef has an even bigger impact on the environment,” she said.
“But the impacts of climate change are becoming more pronounced.”
Dr Gartrel said while the Great Southern Barrier Reef and Great Barrier Island were under pressure, the Reef was still recovering.
“It’s a big part of the reef that is still recovering from the Great Bight Flood and the impact of the climate change,” she told ABC Radio Darwin.
“We know that it is a good environment to live in but it’s also an important ecosystem.”
So we need to make sure we keep it healthy and that we keep investing in it.
“Dr Kiefenbrink said while climate change was a risk, it was a lesser risk than the impact on marine life that the Great Western Barrier Reef faces.”
What we’ve seen is a change in the reef ecosystem and we’ve also seen an increase in coral bleaching,” he said.
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