Joint media release: New report shows coral recovery on reef

19 July 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Warren Entsch, Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef


On the eve of a critical World Heritage Committee meeting, a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows widespread coral recovery taking place on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science Annual Long Term Monitoring Program (LTMP) finds that the widespread recovery is underway across all three regions (Northern, Central and Southern).

The report found increased coral cover due to the respite from severe weather events over the last year.

Eighty-five per cent of the reefs surveyed from the previous year showed increases in hard coral cover and minimal impact from last year’s coral bleaching.

“The report recognises the very real challenges for the Reef in the face of changing climates and extreme weather events, but it also underlines the capacity of the Reef to recover,” Minister Ley said.

“The clear message from this year’s survey is that coral recovery can take place, and is taking place, in the right conditions.

“The release of the full report underlines our view that the World Heritage Committee proposed listing had not been based on the latest information.”

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Warren Entsch, said that AIMS scientists have been building a detailed picture of the Reef over 35 years through the LTMP.
 
“The Reef is incredible in the way it changes and adapts and this is an example of that process,” Mr Entsch said.
 
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Dr Paul Hardisty said the conditions over the last year had given the Reef time to recover areas of coral growth.

“There is some encouraging news in this report and another good year would continue the recovery process, but we also have to accept the increasing risk of marine heatwaves that can lead to coral bleaching and the need for the world to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.

The full report and vision for media outlets can be accessed through the following link: https://cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au/plus/s/Hv3RNuIfgqadDpN