Australia: Video shows Agincourt Reef off Port Douglas thriving

Alicia Nally, The Cairns Post 12 Sep 16;

A NEW video has shown one of the Far North’s most popular reefs has almost fully recovered from what was described as the worst coral bleaching event in recent history.

Quicksilver Group’s environment and compliance manager and marine biologist Doug Baird said coral on Agincourt Reef number 3 was “well in the process recovery” from a bleaching event six months ago.

“It was a very robust reef going into the bleaching event. It was healthy, the water quality was good out here,” he said.

“In fact, it was the best managed reef system anywhere on the planet. This builds up resilience of the reef which gives it that opportunity­ under these natural events to actually cope and recover.”

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority tourism and stewardship director Dr Roger Beeden said he was aware of reports Agincourt Reef coral was recovering. He said in-water surveys in October would enable scientists to closely assess recovery and survival rates across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“The extent of recovery for heat-affected corals will vary across the marine park, and will largely depend on how stressed the corals were locally.

“On the most resilient reefs and in ideal circumstances, bleached corals can regain their colour within a period of weeks to months once water temperatures return to normal. However, corals experiencing chronic poor water quality or other stressors are unlikely to recover within these short time frames and recovery will be impeded.”