Barrier Reef experiences second bleaching event in two years
ENVIRONMENT Minister Steven Miles said he is concerned about reports the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing a second major coral bleaching event in two years.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is this morning expected to release findings from aerial surveys conducted yesterday afternoon over northern parts of the reef.
Warm ocean temperatures is understood to have caused the widespread coral bleaching to parts of the Reef between Townsville and Port Douglas.
Dr Miles said the revelations were unexpected.
"We were reassured that the reef would have a chance to recover (from last year's coral bleaching event)," he said.
"We were told it was very unlikely for another bleaching event this year. Early survey work is showing, for the first time ever, that the reef is experiencing a second bleaching event within two years."
Environmental agency WWF said last year's coral bleaching killed off around 22% of all coral in the northern parts of the reef and was now affecting popular tourism locations.
"Climate change has knocked the Reef to its knees and now it is kicking it in the guts," said WWF-Australia Head of Oceans Richard Leck.
"I'm shocked and saddened by what is unfolding. I did not anticipate back-to-back bleaching this decade."