The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has released a new report on the Great Barrier Reef, revealing widespread coral recovery in all three regions — Northern, Central and Southern.
The Report comes on the eve of the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) World Heritage Committee meeting to consider the condition of the reef with a view to listing it as endangered.
The AIMS’ Annual Long Term Monitoring Program Report found increased coral cover due to the respite from severe weather events over the past year.
It said 85 per cent of the reefs surveyed from the previous year showed increases in hard coral cover and minimal impact from last year’s coral bleaching.
Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said the Report recognised the very real challenges for the reef in the face of changing climates and extreme weather events, but it also underlined the capacity of the reef to recover.
“The clear message from this year’s survey is that coral recovery can take place, and is taking place, in the right conditions,” Ms Ley said.
“The release of the full Report underlines our view that the World Heritage Committee proposed listing has not been based on the latest information.”
Chief Executive Officer of the AIMS, Paul Hardisty said the conditions over the past year had given the reef time to recover areas of coral growth.
“There is some encouraging news in this Report and another good year would continue the recovery process, but we also have to accept the increasing risk of marine heatwaves that can lead to coral bleaching and the need for the world to reduce carbon emissions,” Dr Hardisty said.’
The 12-page AIMS Report can be accessed at this PS News link.