Fight for the Reef
Fight for the Reef

Media release: Baby corals impacted by bleaching in Great Barrier Reef’s annual mass coral spawning

Nov 21, 2016A

The saddening reports from scientists today that they are witnessing less coral spawning in the north of the Great Barrier Reef this year shows the devastating, ongoing impacts of coral bleaching, fuelled by global warming, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Dr Dean Miller, marine scientist and filmmaker at Great Barrier Reef Legacy, said:

“We had people on the Reef here off Port Douglas for all three nights – 17th,18th,19th November – and we saw very little to no activity particularly on reefs that had been heavily bleached.

“While other regions are reporting some level of spawning, this region did not see much at all. The weather here has been particularly rough though, and its unknown at this stage if this has been a contributing factor to the poor spawning activity.

“I have witnessed and filmed many successful spawning events in the past 15 years with the extremely impressive underwater snowstorm of the eggs and sperm of hundreds and thousands of corals all releasing their gametes en-mass which makes this the greatest spawning event on the planet. This 2016 predicted event was certainly nothing at all like that,” Dr Miller said.

Imogen Zethoven, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director at AMCS said:

“The Great Barrier Reef’s annual mass coral spawning event is an astonishing feat of nature and serves as a timely reminder of how precious this unique World Heritage Area is and why we must protect it for future generations,” she said,

“The impacts of this year’s unprecedented severe coral bleaching in the northern third of the Reef continue to have serious consequences and won’t be fully known for years to come,” Ms Zethoven said.

“We must protect our Reef and the more than 70,000 jobs it provides from future mass bleaching events and to do that we need a rapid transition to job-rich renewable energy instead of new coal mines.

“We can save our Reef and ensure the new corals currently being formed are able to survive for decades to come by switching rapidly from coal to a clean-energy future,” Ms Zethoven said.

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