Jonathon Pritchard
Jonathon Pritchard campaign leader

The most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef are in the grip of the worst coral bleaching event in history, scientists say. Experts who've surveyed 500 sites between Cairns and Papua New Guinea say once-healthy reefs are now snow-white, with the vast majority ranked in the most severe category of bleaching.

"Even more concerning, we haven't yet found the southern limit of the bleaching," says Professor Terry Hughes, the convenor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce. "We flew for 4000km in the most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef and saw only four reefs that had no bleaching."

Professor Hughes said the scale of reef damage was a very sad thing to witness. The aerial surveys have confirmed the current bleaching event is far more severe than those of 2002 and 1998.

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