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Great Barrier Reef Now Irrevocably Damaged, Experts Say Improvement is No Longer Achievable

May 31, 2017 12:45 PM EDT
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Great Barrier Reef left off UNESCO 'in danger' list despite concern over coral bleaching and water quality
Great Barrier Reef
Two experts from government science agencies said that this plan to improve the condition of the reef is no longer achievable.

(Photo : Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Bringing back the former majesty of the Great Barrier Reef has always been unlikely, and now experts are saying that expecting an improvement could be impossible despite efforts of the government.

According to a report from BBC News, a third of the Great Barrier Reef's corals disappeared in the past year. Research has shown that 29 percent of corals died in 2016, greater than the projected 26 percent made mid-year. In Port Douglas, 70 percent of the shallow coral reefs were destroyed.

"As has been the case with reefs across the world, the Great Barrier Reef has experienced significant and widespread impacts over the last two years," Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said. "We're very concerned about what this means for the Great Barrier Reef itself and what it means for the communities and industries that depend on it."

Experts revealed that there really is cause for concern because the damage on the famous reef could be irreperable.

In 2015, the federal and Queensland government enacted the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan to "ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its outstanding universal values". According to a report from The Guardian, two experts from government science agencies said that this plan to improve the condition of the reef is no longer achievable.

During a meeting of the Reef 2050 advisory committee, the experts suggested revising the plan and aiming to maintain the ecological functions of the reef instead, while accepting the inevitable decline of its health. Ecological functions include providing food and shelter to marine creatures, giving food to humans, protecting the coastline and many more.

"The concept of 'maintaining ecological function' refers to the balance of ecological processes necessary for the reef ecosystem as a whole to persist, but perhaps in a different form, noting the composition and structure may differ from what is currently seen today," a spokeswoman for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority explained.

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