MOSCOW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - Environmentalists are claiming the Australian government's new plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef will do little to save the ecosystem that is at risk, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Monday.
"At this stage Reef 2050 lacks the suite of bold new actions needed to halt the reef's decline," Dermot O'Gorman, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia chief executive, was quoted as saying by AFP.
The draft plan, "Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability" released Monday for consultation, may not be enough to prevent UNESCO from listing the reef on its World Heritage "in danger" list O'Gorman claims.
UNESCO gave the Australian government until February 1, 2015, to submit a report detailing the steps being taken to preserve the reef that is facing several threats including climate change, poor water quality and negative impacts from coastal development and fishing.
"Maintaining and protecting this iconic World Heritage area, while considering the needs for long-term sustainable development, is a critical priority," Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said of the draft, AFP reported.
The plan promotes greater coordination between authorities in addition to bans on future port development in the Fitzroy Delta, Keppel Bay and North Curtis Island, areas considered key incubators of marine life, according to AFP.
The government's release of the plan comes days after its announcements of plans to dump dredging waste into reef waters, a move conservationists deem detrimental to the reef's corals and sea grasses.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A popular tourist destination, the reef comprises over 3,000 individual reef systems housing an abundance of marine life.