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Nature's role as an exquisite artist: the Great Barrier Reef masterpiece

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The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder which is a resource used by human and marine life. This natural resource is under threat by the abuse of inappropriate measures in the environment. We can still preserve the reef and continue to use it by taking the appropriate precautions. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world s natural wonders that stretches 2300 kilometers from Australia s Torres Strait border with Papua New Guinea, south to a point off Bundaberg, central Queensland. It is home to 1500 species of fish with many, if not most of them eating the algae off the coral.

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The Great Barrier Reef is a resource which is used mostly for profit and there is great profit to be gained by tourism and by studying these beautiful pieces of coral. They may be able to find a way of making it bigger and better to increase the tourist dollar. The other big business for the Great Barrier Reef is recreational fishing which has increased sharply in the last ten years. The reef generates 1 billion a year from tourism, fishing and other ventures. The main reefs are under threat from the major industries, tourism and agriculture. 700,000 tourists come to see the reef each year and the numbers are still increasing by ten percent per year. Fleets of wave piercing catamaran s helicopters and seaplanes speed thousands daily to outer reefs that a few year ago entertained only a handful of visitors. This is taking a great toll on the reef .

The boats do not have storage tanks and the human waste is dumped straight into the ocean. This puts lots of phosphate into the ocean and the reef . It also puts too much nitrogen which helps algae grow and algae helps to kill coral. Also there are major problems with the nitrates and phosphates coming down the rivers after the cane growers put it on there crops. Major rain can happen and then this erodes the nitrates and phosphates from the land and into rivers down the rivers and out to sea. This is a way which kills the reef by making it brittle and making the water cloudy also more algae appears. Physical damage from tourists taking little bits of coral with them or an anchor dropping can break a few corals. This takes a long time to re-grow. The only way we can keep the reef there in its full glory is by preservation. This can include things like adding a sewerage treatment plant at places near or on islands near coral reef so that they don t just pump the waste a long way out to sea thus helping to kill the coral by breeding algae.

If the marine parks and fisheries department really want to save this reef then they have to have people in boats making sure people don t take anything there they are not supposed to and to ensure that boat limits are not ignored. We can stop the flow of phosphates and nitrates from coming into the river by green cutting, chopping the part needed and mulching the rest. This can be done instead of burning the crop. Physical damage can be stopped by more closely policed laws and by tourists not being allowed to dive without an instructor who will enforce this and by not taking coral from the reef. Taking into consideration all four factors if the reef is not looked after properly it will become just a place of death to coral,and the tourist dollar will be lost.

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