UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has withdrawn a threat to list Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” after a coral discovery in the Timor Sea has given hope to the struggling Australian marine wonder.
According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, tropical cyclones over the past 30 years have decimated nearly half of all the coral of the Great Barrier Reef.
But new hope for the GBR comes as cyclone damaged Scott Reef has been discovered to have exploded back to life, regenerating after surviving one of the worst coral bleaching episodes on record in 1998.
Researcher James Gilmour of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, who once described Scott Reef, 300km northwest of Broome, as a “wasteland”, told The Weekend Australian: “The lesson we have learned from Scott Reef is that, if the water quality is very good, reefs are very resilient.”
While some experts say the frequency of severe weather won’t give the Great Barrier Reef enough time to recover, Institute research director Jamie Oliver said the work on Scott Reef had benchmarked the regenerative capacity of corals.
UNESCO has given Australia a year to address the port development in the marine park area.
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