Is Australia on track to save Great Barrier Reef?

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Is Australia on track to save Great Barrier Reef?

 Is Australia on track to save Great Barrier Reef?
Image source: © JaCrispy | Megapixl.com

Highlights

  • 2022 saw the highest level of coral cover in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
  • The coral cover in the central and northern regions has grown significantly in last one year.
  • There has been significant recovery in the coral cover at GBR despite the increase in frequency and extent of bleaching events.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Great Barrier Reef is registering significant percentage of recovery in coral cover in the Northern and Central regions.

In 2022, there has been the highest level of coral cover in the region since 1985. The coral cover at GBR has shown signs of recovery despite the increase in frequency of various disturbances that hamper its growth.

In this article, we will get you all the details about the condition of coral cover at the Great Barrier Reef as well as an insight into the actions that have escalated the widespread recovery. 

A measure of the reef health at GBR

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) produces an annual report detailing the facts and figures related to the Great Barrier Reef. The report is prepared following the requirements as listed in the Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

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In early August, the institute released the latest measure of reef health in its Annual Summary Report of Coral Reef Condition 2021/22.

The report was driven by surveys of 87 reefs conducted between August 2021 and May 2022 (reported as ‘2022’) under the Long-Term Monitoring Program (LTMP). The survey was conducted for the coral reef along with the boundaries of the Northern, Central and Southern GBR regions.

Significant signs of coral recovery at GBR

After decades of damage, there has been an increase in average hard coral cover of the reef. The coral cover in the northern region has grown to 36% in 2022 from 27% in 2021. Also, the coral cover has seen a spike in the central region to 33% in 2022 from 26% in 2021.

However, coral cover in the southern region saw a decline from 39% in 2021 to 34% in 2022, owing to increase in crown-of-thorns starfish. The mass coral bleaching events also cause a major impact on the coral cover. (Data source: Australian Institute of Marine Science)

The threat isn’t over yet!

Though the coral cover at GBR is at its peak this year, there remains the need to keep a check on the loss of coral cover in some regions. The Crown-of-thorns Starfish Control Program by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should continue to decrease the number of crown-of-thorns starfish in the GBR area.

Also, there has to be greater focus on boosting the growth of Acropora corals, a dominant group of corals on the GBR region. Acropora is a type of fast-growing coral. The percent hard coral cover can be increased significantly if the number of Acropora corals is amplified.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Great Barrier Reef is registering significant percentage of recovery in coral cover in the Northern and Central regions.

In 2022, there has been the highest level of coral cover in the region since 1985. The coral cover at GBR has shown signs of recovery despite the increase in frequency of various disturbances that hamper its growth.

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