Coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef

·2-min read

NORTHERN SECTION - CAPE YORK TO COOKTOWN:

* 26 reefs surveyed

* Average hard coral cover estimated at 36 per cent, the highest level in 36 years of monitoring

* That's a significant recovery from the most recent low of 13 per cent in 2017

* Much of the recovery was in the Cape Grenville and Princess Charlotte Bay sectors that were severely affected by mass bleaching in 2016

* Crown-of-thorns starfish numbers were low overall

* Aerial surveys at the height of this year's bleaching event recorded bleaching at eight survey reefs; most had between 30 and 60 per cent of colonies bleached

CENTRAL GREAT BARRIER REEF - COOKTOWN TO PROSERPINE

* 33 reefs surveyed

* Average hard coral cover estimated at 33 per cent, the highest level in 36 years of monitoring

* That's a significant recovery from the most recent low of 14 per cent in 2019

* Aerial bleaching surveys at the height of this year's bleaching event recorded severe bleaching at 22 monitored reefs, and moderate or major bleaching at seven reefs

* No crown-of-thorns outbreaks were reported despite previous ones in recent years

* The region has been the focus of active culling by the Crown-of-thorns Starfish Control Program

SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF - PROSERPINE TO GLADSTONE

* 28 reefs surveyed

* Average hard coral cover estimated at 34 per cent, down from 38 per cent last year

* Southern region was the only one to see a decrease in coral cover this year

* Decrease was primarily driven by crown-of-thorns starfish predation despite culling by the Crown-of-thorns Starfish Control Program

* Widespread but low levels of bleaching recorded during surveys in January this year

* Aerial surveys at the peak of the bleaching event saw varied bleaching across the region

* Of 16 reefs surveyed by air during this year's bleaching event, three had major levels of bleaching, four moderate, seven minor, and two had no bleaching

SOURCE: Annual Summary Report on Coral Reef Condition for 2021/22, Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting