Watch: Proof of life for our endangered Reef

 

JOHNNY Gaskell, aquaman, marine biologist, and explorer can confirm the Reef is "certainly not dead".

The Daydream Island scientist has completed a mission to dive 100 sites the length of the Great Barrier Reef in a year.

These spectacular images - taken from Lady Elliot Island to Raine Island - show the "truth" of healthy corals and condition of the 2300km-long living wonder.

"I truly hope that I can repeat this mission in 10 years and still recognise these reefs,'' the 38-year-old told The Courier-Mail.

He said the idea of the largely self-funded mission, with some support from Tourism Queensland, was to see the state of the Reef.

"There was a lot of talk around the reef being dead, or almost dead, or half-dead, or fine after the 2016-17 bleaching events," Mr Gaskell said.

"It was hard to know what to believe with so many conflicting messages and I couldn't find anyone who could personally speak for all regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

"So I figured, best just go have a look for myself."

The Instagram sensation, made famous by National Geographic after he "discovered" the blue holes of the Reef, posted his findings to popular acclaim.

"It took a lot of planning as two spots were 250km offshore and one almost up as far as Papua New Guinea, a total distance of 1810km," he said.

"The purpose of this expedition was to get in the water with no set agenda other than to explore and take in as much of the incredible beauty of the Great Barrier Reef as possible.

"And then film the highlights to inspire others to want to protect what we still have.

"I can confirm that the reef is certainly not dead, but it is showing signs of stress at a number of locations."

Mr Gaskell said feedback to his posts show many welcome the "realistic view" of the world's biggest living structure, visible from outer space.

"Some parts of the Reef are really good, and some badly damaged parts will need to be left to recover," he said.

"The key message is clear.

"We have a chance right now to try and protect what we have left, which is still amazing.

"If we put it off, tomorrow the bar will continue to shift and we may soon be talking about protecting a lesser GBR than we have today."

As can be seen by the photos, there are sites in exceptional condition from north to south scattered the whole length of the Great Barrier Reef, he said.

"Many close-by reefs have lost significant coral cover as a result of bleaching due to global warming, crown of thorns starfish or cyclones.

"The scary thing is, if we don't make changes now, this year and each year that follows may be the last time we see the reef in the condition we will wish it still was."


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