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Reef health

Today’s report that hard coral cover across the Great Barrier Reef remains at similar levels to that recorded last year is good news for the Reef.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) today released its annual summary report on coral Reef condition for 2022–23. It highlights that reef condition is dynamic with hard coral cover increasing on some reefs and declining on others, leading to overall coral cover remaining similar to that recorded last year.

This follows last year’s report which recorded the highest amount of coral cover in the northern and central regions of the Reef since AIMS started its long-term monitoring program 37 years ago. 

Reef Authority acting Chief Scientist Dr Roger Beeden said, “this long-term record is extremely valuable in enabling us to understand how pressures, such as climate change, are affecting the Reef and guiding actions to protect it into the future.

“The AIMS results show the variability in coral condition in each region reflecting the patterns of local disturbances such as heat stress, crown-of-thorns starfish predation and in the north a tropical cyclone,” Dr Beeden said. 

“While these local pressures have meant that average hard coral cover has plateaued, it also shows that in the absence of disturbances, reefs continue to recover.

“This is why the Reef Authority continues to target our actions such as zoning enforcement and crown-of-thorns starfish control to protect Reef resilience so it can better cope with climate change impacts.” 

Overall, the AIMS results highlight that the Reef remains a vibrant, resilient marine ecosystem. 

Climate change remains the greatest threat to the Reef and everyone, anywhere can do their bit by taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Updated 9 Aug 2023
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