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TSRA urges reporting of Coral Bleaching or Crown of Thorns Starfish sightings

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) are prompting all community members to remember to report any new sightings of coral bleaching or Crown of Thorns Starfish to Rangers.

The TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said coral bleaching happens when corals get stressed from things like high water temperatures, expelling the small algae that live in their cells and give them their colour.

“Bleaching can lead to the occurrence of coral disease and if it lasts long enough can kill the coral,” Mr Stephen said.

“High water temperatures can also lead to outbreaks of the coral eating Crown of Thorns Starfish.”

Mr Stephen said 2015 and 2016 were some of the hottest years on record according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with higher than usual water temperatures recorded throughout the Torres Strait.

“A global coral bleaching event occurred early in 2016, with most coral reefs severely bleached around the western, central and inner Torres Strait,” Mr Stephen said.

“Severe coral bleaching has again been observed on the Great Barrier Reef between Cape Tribulation and Townsville in February 2017, so as a community we need to keep a close watch on any similar sightings in the Torres Strait region.”

For more information please contact TSRA’s Project Manager for Sea Tristan Simpson on (07) 4069 0700.

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