Scientists send coral reef plea to Australia
HONOLULU — As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists have sent a letter to Australian officials calling for action to save the world’s reefs, which are being rapidly damaged.
The letter was sent Saturday to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imploring his government to do more to conserve the nation’s reefs and curb fossil fuel consumption.
The letter, signed by past and present presidents of the International Society for Reef Studies on behalf of the 2,000 attendees of the International Coral Reef Symposium that was held in Honolulu this week, urged the Australian government to prioritize its Great Barrier Reef.
“This year has seen the worst mass bleaching in history, threatening many coral reefs around the world including the whole of the northern Great Barrier Reef, the biggest and best-known of all reefs,” the letter said. “The damage to this Australian icon has already been devastating. In addition to damage from greenhouse gasses, port dredging and shipping of fossil fuels across the Great Barrier Reef contravene Australia’s responsibilities for stewardship of the Reef under the World Heritage Convention.”
Leaders from the scientific community at the convention in Honolulu said Friday that the unprecedented letter was critical to the conservation of the fragile reef habitat.
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