Multi-million dollar plan gives new hope for Reef
IT'S hoped a $1.7m investment in Australia's first integrated Reef Restoration Hub will restore 100 priority reefs in the Cairns and Post Douglas area by 2030.
The ambitious project brings together marine science experts to work on the "world's largest coral reef protection program" by finding new ways to safeguard coral reefs and the marine life that depends on them.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said "innovative science and hands-on solutions" were needed on the Reef to mitigate against three mass coral beaching events in the past five years.
"Tourism operators, citizen scientists, community groups and locals … will have the opportunity to amplify their efforts and join forces with the cutting-edge science that we're investing $100m in through the large-scale Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program," she said.
The GBRF announcement follows evidence of coral bleaching at the tourism hotspot of Moore Reef off Cairns earlier this year.
Already underway is a coral IVF project to restore damaged sections of Moore Reef run by Southern Cross University, Aroona Boat Charters and Reef Magic.
Other projects include coral nurseries and planting to restore parts of Hastings Reef run by Passions of Paradise and a trial of artificial reef structures to restore damaged parts of Agincourt Reef run by Quicksilver and Reef Ecologic.
Expressions of interest are now open for local-scale and large-scale reef restoration projects. Soon there will be an opportunity for traditional owners to co-design projects, and funding made available for these projects to be implemented.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Mark Olsen said through isolation, the Great Barrier Reef has continued to inspire the world as a globally significant ecosystem.
"As the tourism voice for Cairns and Great Barrier Reef, TTNQ is very supportive of the hub initiative to bring tourism and the science-led conservation sector even closer together," he said.
James Cook University's Dr Ian McLeod said the new hub would offer scientists guiding resources for coral restoration on the Great Barrier Reef.
Originally published as Multi million dollar plan gives new hope for Reef