By Reef Check Australia
The Reef Check Australia (RCA) team recently headed to Fitzroy Island to complete a reef health survey at one of the sites on the northwestern side of the island. The site has been surveyed three times over the past 13 months and continues to show strong signs of continued health. Hard coral cover has increased from 31% to 49% in that time, highlighting reef growth since substantial declines were recorded after the 2017 bleaching. Bleaching this year was evident, but most of the coral the team saw during our survey was healthy. Where bleaching was still evident, the corals were in recovery and looked like they will continue that way throughout 2020. Other notable observations included low levels of algal growth and no recently dead coral. The team was also lucky to spot a turtle relaxing amongst the corals toward the end of their survey.
Furthermore, Low Isles in the Port Douglas region of the Great Barrier Reef is truly spectacular. On a cool winters day in the shadow of COVID-19 the scene was quiet, however the reefs are looking spectacular demonstrating strong recovery from the bleaching that severely affected it three years ago. There were minimal signs of bleaching impacts in 2020 however. Thank you to Wavelength Reef Cruises for hosting RCA out on the reef and assisting them in completing their work.