On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a three-month warning for parts of the Great Barrier Reef, which is home to some of the world’s most iconic and vulnerable coral reefs.
He also announced that Australia will impose mandatory minimum fines of $1,000 for surfers caught on or near the reef.
In the lead-up to the event, many high-profile surfers have come out in support of the reef, which Morrison has described as “the world’s greatest ocean habitat”.
While surfing can be extremely dangerous, Morrison told ABC Radio on Tuesday that he had seen the Reef “with my own eyes” and described it as “a wonderful place”.
The Prime Minister said the Reef’s “stability, health and well-being are our most important priorities and this announcement will help us continue to protect it”.
The Reefs own tourism industry relies heavily on the reef and its tourism industry is highly dependent on the Government.
While it is not illegal to surf on the Reef, there are fines for surfing on any parts of it.
According to the Reefs tourism department, surfers will not be allowed to surf at beaches where coral is more than 5m high, or surf at more than 1.6 metres below sea level, or even surf on a reef that is less than 5km away.
Morrison’s announcement came as he visited the Reef and announced that the government will be introducing legislation to protect the reef from environmental damage and “economic and cultural disruption”.
The Government will also establish a marine reserves advisory committee to advise the government on how to protect reef biodiversity and help conserve the reef’s unique ecosystems.
It is expected that this will involve a review of existing laws, and a review on the future of the Reef.
The reef is home of some of Australia’s most critically endangered coral reefs, including the Reef of Rocks, and has been declared by UNESCO to be one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world.
While the Reef has been the focus of international attention in recent months, many other marine species have also been threatened by global warming.
In November, the Australian Government said that the Reef was likely to be “vulnerable” by 2100.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister met with Indigenous communities in Queensland and New South Wales to discuss the Reef at the National Aboriginal Day celebration.
In a statement, the government said that “the Reef of rocks, the iconic reef at the heart of Queensland’s tourism economy, is at risk of disappearing because of climate change.”
It said that climate change was affecting the environment, tourism, and tourism workers.
“It is important that we take action to protect and preserve the Reef as Australia’s Great Barrier Island,” the statement read.
“We are determined to protect this unique and spectacular landscape for future generations.”