Diver among healthy coral at Saxon Reef. Photo: Pablo Cogollos
Diver among healthy coral at Saxon Reef. Photo: Pablo Cogollos

Coral bouncing back from bleaching

CORAL is bouncing back at key reef tourism hot spots in the Far North, following mass coral bleaching that devastated the marine park more than a year ago.

The Reef and Rainforest Research Centre claims there is healthy, colourful coral at numerous locations that suffered during the back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.

The Cairns based agency, in co-operation with the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, conducted detailed surveys of bleaching levels at several key dive sites across the region affected by bleaching, which now show strong signs of recovery.

RRRC managing director Sheriden Morris said multiple recent reports and images from marine tourism operators and their clients showed some sites had been recovering well.

"Saxon Reef, for example, suffered some form of bleaching on 47.1 per cent of its live coral cover during the 2016 event," she said.

"Fortunately, much of the bleached coral recovered thanks to better conditions experienced in 2018.

"However, this recovery is always going to be contingent on environmental conditions.

"It is critical that all efforts are made to promote the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef."