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Study shows Coal dust reduces growth of fish and seagrass and Kills coral

Study shows Coal dust reduces growth of fish and seagrass and Kills coral..maxresdefault

Researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland, found corals exposed to the highest concentrations of coal dust died within two weeks.

In Australia, more than 60,000 tonnes of coal remained on board the Shen Neng 1 when it ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef off Gladstone in 2010.

“While the likelihood of a major spill on a coral reef or seagrass meadow is low, we are now beginning to understand the likely consequences,” said Dr Andrew Negri.

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In Australia, more than 60,000 tonnes of coal remained on board the Shen Neng 1 when it ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef off Gladstone in 2010.

“While the likelihood of a major spill on a coral reef or seagrass meadow is low, we are now beginning to understand the likely consequences,” said Dr Andrew Negri.

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“As an island nation we have to ship our product abroad which is why we have faith in our highly effective monitoring system REEFVTS.

“This system is a 24/7 protection of the reef similar to the air traffic control system that controls aviation.”

The findings by scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies have been published in Nature Scientific Reports.

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The scientists mimicked the exposure of marine species to coal dust by adding carefully controlled amounts of fine coal particles and measured their responses over time.

“Corals exposed to lower concentrations of coal lasted longer, but most of them also died after four weeks of exposure,” researcher Kathryn Berry said.

“The coal didn’t kill seagrass or fish, but it stunted their growth by half compared to clean water.”

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It is hoped the results will lead to safer methods of shipping coal around the world.

Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche said the industry was concerned about the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef and he welcomed additional studies into its protection.

But he argued the World Heritage Area was one of the most highly regulated and protected shipping zones in the world.

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