Reefs are dying due to COVID-19, scientists warn
The Australian government has warned of an imminent coral death pandemic, and said it was looking to boost funding for coral reefs in order to mitigate the risk of coral death.
Key points:Coral reefs in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales are in danger of dying from the coronavirus (CVD) outbreakThe Queensland Government is asking for $3.5 billion to help boost the Queensland Government’s response to the threat to the state’s coral reefsCoral corals are at risk of dying due the virus, which has spread across the world, and are being pushed back by the coronovirus pandemicCoral reef experts say they fear that reef deaths could occur as the pandemic progressesThe Queensland government has asked for $5.5bn to help bolster Queensland’s response as it struggles to contain the coronivirus (COVID-17) pandemic.
Key point: The Queensland Government has asked the Federal Government for $4.5bil to help the Queensland economy as the coronvirus pandemics comes to an endIn a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Queensland government said the Queensland Premier had asked the Commonwealth Government to help with the coronvirol coronaviral response.
“The Queensland Premier has requested an additional $4,737,000 from the Commonwealth for a coronaviruses response in Queensland,” the letter said.
“We are seeking an additional 1.2 billion dollars in federal support to respond to the coronvilvirus (CR) pandemic and provide a high level of economic support for Queensland.”
In the letter, the state government noted the COVID coronavivirus is the most devastating pandemic the world has ever seen and the Queensland’s coral reef system was suffering from the loss of corals.
“Corals in Queensland are at high risk of mortality from coronavid and other COVID viruses, particularly in Queensland’s reef,” the government said.’
It’s time to act now’The Queensland Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said Queensland was the worst affected state in the country with an estimated 9.6 million corals dying due COVID.
“Coral bleaching is a global phenomenon, with widespread coral bleaching affecting coral at all latitudes, including the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia,” the EPA said in a statement.
“This is the first time that the Australian state has experienced a coral bleached coral die-off in our state, and we have the highest rates of bleaching of any state in Australia.”
It said Queensland’s reefs were already suffering from bleaching conditions that were the equivalent to 2 per cent of all reef systems in the world.
“While the current COVID pandemic will not affect the Queensland state’s corals, we do believe there is a need to act to protect the remaining corals,” EPA Queensland said.
The EPA said Queensland is the only state in Queensland where coral reefs have been hit by COVID in recent times.
The Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Industries has called for the state to invest in its coral reef economy.
“It’s important that the Queensland public understand the need for Queensland to diversify its economy away from the oil and gas industry and focus on providing economic growth to the Queensland population,” EPA Chief Executive Greg Brinkley said.
A federal response would provide a boost to the $5bn Queensland Government needs to respond in order for Queensland’s coralls to continue to flourish, the EPA statement said.
Key areas to focus on:Improving infrastructure to prevent coral bleaches, including coral walls, improving infrastructure to mitigate and reduce the impacts of coralline algae blooms, and developing marine protected areas around reef areas.
“If Queensland’s economy is to continue growing, the reef will need to be protected, protected in the best possible way and be resilient to climate change,” the statement said, adding that this would be achieved by increasing the number of reefs, the number and type of species and other resources used to protect reefs.
The Federal Government is also funding Queensland’s Coral Reefs Queensland, a non-government organisation which aims to encourage investment in Queensland coral reefs.
“In the short term, funding for the Queensland Coral Reef’s Queensland program would be used to provide additional support for reef infrastructure and management, including for new reef management areas, improved water quality management and enhanced coral management,” the Federal Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said in its statement.
Corals are vulnerable to COVI, a bacterial infection caused by COVI-1.
This is the cause of coral bleachers in many areas, and can be fatal.
“Our corals have had to adapt to a different world and this has impacted the ability of them to recover,” the Queensland Department for Primary Industries said in the statement.
“In some parts of the world corals can survive COVI for years without showing any signs of disease.
The Queensland government is investing in reef management to ensure Queensland corals continue to recover from this.”