A new report has praised the efforts of Queensland farmers to reduce the threat of catchment run-off on the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland farmers are often blamed for damaging the Great Barrier Reef, but new reports show they’re dramatically cleaning up their act.
Pesticide pollution has dropped by 15 per cent and fertiliser pollution by 13 per cent on the reef over the past five years, according to the Living Planet Report by the WWF.
And since the report went to print, the Australian government’s latest reef report card has shown an even better result.
The government report shows pesticide pollution is down by 28 per cent and fertiliser pollution by 16 per cent, thanks to changed farming practices and programs funded by the federal and Queensland governments.
“These results are very encouraging but to ensure the Great Barrier Reef’s survival, we now need to scale up this good work across all farmers and all of the catchments that run into the reef,” says WWF-Australia chief executive Dermot O’Gorman.
The conservation group says fertiliser run-off from farms fuelled crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks that have cut the reef’s coral cover by about 20 per cent since 1985.
“Water running off farms flushes fertilisers, pesticides and soil into rivers and onto the Reef, with dire consequences not only for corals, sea grasses and marine wildlife but also for almost 69,000 full-time jobs in tourism, fishing and other industries that depend on a healthy reef,” Mr O’Gorman said.
The Living Planet Report ranked Australia as having the 13th largest ecological footprint per capita on the planet, but Mr O’Gorman says Queensland farmers are helping to reduce that.
“The planet is clearly under stress but with better production, smarter consumption, and better choices to protect our natural assets and reduce our footprint we can turn the tide and start to live within our means.”