In the past few weeks, our organisation has received worrying testimonies from Rurutu in the Austral Islands, from Punaauia in Tahiti, and from the North coast of Moorea (see photograph below). The photographs and descriptions sent showed an important bleaching event, touching many coral colonies.
As a reminder, a coral bleaching event is caused by stress following an environmental change in the water conditions on which coral depends, often the temperature. Coral is then considered sick and may die if conditions do not come back to normal. We believe the water getting warmer may be the cause of the bleaching here.
The event of coral bleaching occuring now is even more worrying as it touches our reefs for the second year in a row. French polynesia is not the only region touched and scientists estimate that the Great Barrier Reef is going to take decenies to recover from these two successive bleaching events.
Reef Check is mobilized to follow the evolution of this event through regular reef check monitorings that are being put into place. The data will then be sent straight away to research centers and territorial services. Unfortunately, there are currently no ways to stop these bleaching events.
Thanks for the testimonies we received from Jérôme Petit, Sylvie Pithon and Moorea Ocean Adventures for the photographs.