Dismay and devastation as record temperatures lead to mass coral bleaching on our Great Barrier Reef

The announcement of the third mass coral bleaching event in five years on our Great Barrier Reef is devastating news, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has said.

Following extensive aerial surveys, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and leading reef scientist Professor Terry Hughes have made the announcement, attributing the disaster to accumulated heat stress caused by record breaking sea surface temperatures on our Reef in February.

Reef campaigner Shani Tager said: “We are devastated for our Reef, the incredible marine species it supports and the communities that rely on its health. This shows the urgent need for Reef-safe climate policies.

“The mass bleaching is occurring at a time when the tourism and hospitality industries are reeling from the impacts of coronavirus. Our Reef industries need support in the short and long term.

“When the restrictions from this pandemic lift, we will need the beautiful places in this world like our Reef more than ever to heal, reconnect with each other and the natural world. That means we need a healthy Reef and climate policies that will give it a fighting chance.

“Popular tourist spots off Cairns-Port Douglas and the Whitsundays only have moderate levels of bleaching, from which most corals should recover, which is good news for those Reefs.”

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