Author: Terry Hughes
Source: Cosmos 
July 31, 2012
"The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a valuable natural asset that provides $6 billion per annum to the Australian economy and supports more than 50,000 jobs, primarily in tourism. It’s an irreplaceable resource, a national and international icon and it is slowly declining.
In the past 50 years more than half of the coral coverage has disappeared, and the number of sharks, dugongs and turtles today is a small fraction of only a few decades ago. Increasing fishing pressure has made it harder to catch a decent-sized fish. Three major outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish have swept along the GBR since the 1960s, and a fourth is underway. In 1998 and again in 2002, global warming caused mass coral bleaching along the length of the Reef leading to further loss of corals. Since 2000, fewer than half of the individual reefs comprising the Great Barrier Reef have more than 10% coral cover, compared to an average of close to 40% in the 1960s.
The good news is we know why these changes are occurring, and more importantly, how to fix them."
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