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Australian tourist body downplays severity of coral bleaching
Last Updated: 2016-04-04 11:01 | Xinhua
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The peak tourist body for North Queensland is downplaying the impact coral bleaching has had on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) chief executive Alex de Waal said in a statement on Monday his operators have reported just a few isolated incidents of staghorn coral bleaching in the areas they operate and fortunately the majority of the reefs of Cairns and Port Douglas are looking great.

"The Great Barrier Reef is the lifeblood of Tropical North Queensland's tourism industry, but the industry also is vital to the future of the Reef as our operators assist with research, educate the public to value our World Heritage asset and do their bit to protect the magnificent environment they work in," de Waal said.

TTNQ launched a campaign on Monday encouraging the public to post photos of the Great Barrier Reef on social media, to let the world know there is still "plenty of colourful coral reefs and abundant marine life to see on the Great Barrier Reef".

De Waal said the coral bleaching events that scientists have recorded in the reefs off Cape York are of great concern, but TTNQ needs to temper these reports with what is happening in the sections of the Great Barrier Reef easily accessible to the general public.

"People on the other side of the world do not realize just how large the Great Barrier Reef is and that the bleaching scientists are talking about is occurring 240 km north of Cairns."

A recent aerial survey conducted by the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce revealed 60 percent of coral in areas north of Townsville had been bleached.

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