The Australian Federal Government has recently announced a $60 million plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef, with measures to be put in place in the next eighteen months.
With an outbreak in coral-eating starfish (otherwise known as the native crown-of-thorn species) in recent months, the reefs have continued to sustain significant damage amongst other issues.
The world’s largest ecosystem still remains under threat, with the health of the reefs deteriorating rapidly in the last few decades.
Aside from the pertinent issues of pollution and mass coral bleaching induced by climate change, the reef is facing one of its most difficult problems yet.
Aside from the multiple challenges, the Great Barrier Reef suffered from a 50 percent death rate alone, due to the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie in March 2017.
According to the ABC, these cyclic coral-eating starfish outbreaks occur approximately every seventeen years, however four outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef have been recorded since the 1960s.
As such, $10 million of the government’s budget has been allocated to culling the overpopulated starfish species, while a majority of the funding will be focused on preventing polluted water from entering the Great Barrier Reef.
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Senator Michaelia Cash said that the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) will be similarly supported in this plan, with the goal to “develop new ways for the reef to adapt and recover”.
Set to visit the Great Barrier Reef in the coming months is Prince Charles, who will be joined by environmental advocate Terri Irwin and her children, Bindi and Robert, in a bid to aid the nation’s conservationist efforts.