The Truth About the Great Barrier Reef’s Health

Renowned Australian geophysicist Peter Ridd claims that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced “record amounts” of coral growth from 2022-23, contradicting government assertions that the reef remains in dire need of protection.

Ridd criticizes the recent allocation of an additional $5 million to the Great Barrier Reef in the latest federal budget, arguing that these funds would be more effectively used on addressing “genuine environmental problems.” This funding, announced as part of Labor’s 2024 federal budget on May 14, aims to support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s efforts in reef monitoring, protection, and stewardship.

In stark contrast, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation reported that the reef had endured its “worst summer” on record, citing cyclones, severe flooding, starfish outbreaks, and mass bleaching as major threats. The Foundation highlighted that aerial surveys over 1,000 reefs revealed a 73 percent bleaching rate, with an additional 6 percent affected in the Torres Strait.

According to the Foundation, “The Reef Summer Snapshot shows the highest levels of coral bleaching were found across the southern region, where temperatures are typically cooler, and parts of the central and northern regions, where in some areas corals were exposed to record levels of heat stress.”

Reef Subject to Constant ‘Doom-News’

Peter Ridd, a long-time researcher of the Great Barrier Reef, contends that the severity of the reef’s condition has been significantly overstated. “It is telling that in the latest doom-news about the Great Barrier Reef bleaching, they failed to mention that the Great Barrier Reef had record amounts of coral in 2022/23 despite having suffered four ‘catastrophic’ bleaching events in 2016, 2017, 2020, and 2022,” he explained.

“We ended up with twice as much coral than in 2012 when a couple of cyclones genuinely destroyed a lot of coral. How did we end up with so much coral if those last four bleaching events were so catastrophic—even the fast-growing coral takes five to 10 years to regrow.”

Ridd also pointed out that the coral which rebounded is the type most vulnerable to water bleaching. “That proves the last four bleaching events were exaggerated in terms of coral death, and there is no reason to expect this latest event to be much different,” he asserted.

In summary, Peter Ridd urges a reassessment of the Great Barrier Reef’s health and suggests reallocating resources to tackle more pressing environmental issues. His perspective challenges the prevalent narrative of reef degradation, advocating for a balanced view based on recent coral recovery data.


You may also like

Leave a comment