Earlier this week, the Government of Australia has announced its commitment for $500 million to help rescue and recover the Great Barrier Reef. For the past few years, the reef has lost 30% of its coral due to bleaching. This has been linked to the rising temperatures of the sea and damage from a certain species of starfish.
The funding will help to improve the quality of water, tackling the problems with local wildlife, specifically the crown-of-thorns starfish, and other efforts to expand the reef and other restoration projects. The starfish has been one of the most damaging creatures of the reef because they are voracious predators. They release the contents of its stomach on the coral, and the digestive juices of the contents liquefy the coral and make it edible for the starfish. Just one starfish can wipe out entire areas of coral reef.
Josh Fryndenberg, the Environment Minister of Australia, said that this current funding is the single largest investment for reef conservation and management in the history of Australia.
“Millions of dollars will go into science and to better data management and to be able to test the impacts on the reef,” said Frydenberg, “We are looking at a whole range of new initiatives, taking best advice of the experts, working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure that the reef has its best chance into the future.”