THE Australian Marine Conservation Society has sent a clear message to the Federal Government to improve protection of the Great Barrier Reef or risk irreversible damage.
Fifty people signed a petition to be delivered to Federal Environment minister Greg Hunt in support of "100% protection" for the reef at a Coolum event yesterday.
AMCS campaigner Cherry Muddle said the policies outlined in the Federal Government's Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, released last month, did not go far enough to ensure the reef's protection.
"Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on our blue planet but shockingly, it is at risk from rapid industrialisation," Ms Muddle said.
"There are plans to dredge tens of millions of tonnes of seabed in World Heritage waters, to make way for up to 7000 industrial ships crossing the reef every year.
"We want to highlight the love and concern Australians have for our national treasure as well as raise awareness about the government action required to protect the reef."
Eight Message in a Bottle events were held across the nation yesterday by AMCS to highlight their concerns.
AMCS volunteer and the Sunshine Coast event organiser Tracey Irwin said locals were passionate about the reef's longevity.
"Most of the comments were that the reef is a national treasure and once it's gone, it's gone," she said.
"The main threats to the reef are climate change, any change in temperature or pH of the ocean dramatically affects the reef.
"There is a direct threat to the reef from dredging the seabed, coal ports and ships."
Member for Fisher Mal Brough was contacted by the Daily yesterday, but was unavailable for comment due to work commitments.