Reef health

Fact or fiction: coral bleaching 101

Do you know what is fact or fiction?

As Australia’s lead management agency for the Reef, we monitor Reef conditions very closely throughout the year. From May to November each year, we issue regular Reef health reports. Over summer, we issue weekly public reports on the conditions of the Reef.

These updates are based on forecasts, water temperature heat mapping, in-water surveys, citizen science and aerial surveys. The current updates are available below and past Reef health updates are also available.

In addition to our regular updates, we’ve released:

Reef health updates

June/July 2021

Temperature and rainfall

As of the end of July, sea surface temperatures were generally average to slightly above average throughout the Marine Park.

The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicated the Marine Park isn’t under stress and is expected to remain that way until at least the end of November.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is currently forecasting warmer and wetter than average conditions within the catchment and above average sea surface temperatures throughout the Marine Park from now to October.

An early rainfall onset for the 2021-22 season is likely for most of the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Reef health and management 

The Australian Institute of Marine Science released the Long-Term Monitoring Program Annual Summary Report of Coral Reef Condition (2020-2021). Our statement about the report is available on our website.

Marine animal strandings for April to June 2021 show that marine turtle stranding numbers were higher than average, however still below levels of concern.

Most turtle strandings (70%) were reported from the Mackay/Capricorn management area, with poor health/disease thought to be the main cause of strandings.

The Eye on the Reef network reported minor coral damage and/or disease a multiple reefs in the outer Cairns/Cooktown and outer Townsville/Whitsunday management areas.

Information on our crown-of-thorns control program is available through our reporting dashboards. Control actions took place in the Cairns-Cooktown, Townsville-Whitsundays, and Mackay/Capricorn in June and July.