Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Taskforce released its first comprehensive map of the Great Barrier Reef yesterday to show the true devastating effects on the reef so far.
93 per cent of the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been slightly to severely damaged - with the most extensive damage in the north.
Bleaching of coral reefs is caused by the warming oceans, as a result of this year's El Niño and climate change.
Warmer sea temperatures causes the algae in the coral reef to become toxic, forcing the coral to expel it and ultimately causing starvation in the reef until it dies.
National Geographic reported that of the 911 reefs surveyed, a massive 93 per cent had experienced some bleaching.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. It is home to 1,500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, plus six species of turtles - all of which will be deprived of a breeding ground. The results will be catastrophic for the ecosystem.
"50 per cent of the coral is already dead or dying..."
"We've never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it's like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once," Professor Terry Hughes, who conducted aerial surveys of the reef, told The Independent.
"Our estimate at the moment is that close to 50 per cent of the coral is already dead or dying."
What Can I Do To Help The Great Barrier Reef Crisis?
1. Conserve water
Use less water and less wastewater will pollute the ocean
2. Walk, cycle or take the bus
Help reduce pollution and fossil fuel emissions, which lead to ocean warming and coral bleaching
3. Use organic or eco-friendly products
All the products you use flow into the water system and ultimately pollute the ocean, which can harm coral and marine life
4. Dispose of trash properly
Don't leave litter on the beach. Recycle where possible. Use less single-use plastic (especially plastic bottles)
5. Support reef-friendly business
If you are visiting the Great Barrier Reef, ask the boat tour, hotel, dive or snorkel company how they care for the reef and how they contribute to the reef management system
6. Plant a tree
Trees reduce runoff into the ocean, plus planting trees helps reverse the effects of climate change and rising ocean temperatures
7. Practice responsible diving and snorkelling
If you visit the reef on a diving or snorkelling trip, don't touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. Contact with coral can damage it and the animals that live there.
8. Spread the word
Contact the government representatives and demand they take action to protect coral reefs. Spread the word about how important coral reefs are to us and the world's ecosystems.