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Thriving Australian reef shows what happens when nature is left untouched

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What would a tropical reef look like if it could escape the man-made perils of global heating and overfishing? A new study suggests it would look like Rowley Shoals, an isolated archipelago of reefs 260km off Australia’s north-west coast.

“As soon as you jump in you realise there’s something special,” said fish biologist Matthew Birt. “The coral cover is amazing.”

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The study found the relative isolation of Rowley Shoals, protections from commercial fishing, and its shape and location has sustained threatened species and rich biodiversity during a time of “unprecedented degradation of coral reefs” elsewhere around the world.

Giant fish like the humphead Maori wrasse and humphead parrotfish – both growing to more than 1.5m – were seen regularly at Rowley Shoals, despite their globally threatened status.

“What was remarkable was there was no real change in the abundance [of fish] through time. We don’t see any evidence of decline,” said Birt, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims). “Under the right conditions, this is what a reef can look like,” said Birt.

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/07/rowley-shoals-thriving-australian-reef-shows-whats-possible-when-ecosystems-are-untouched-by-humans

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Chromatislaps

we need to stop fishing for some years, the ocean will definitely restore large portions of its ecosystems... 

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