Is the barrier reef dying - boat on reef

Is the Barrier Reef Dying ?

Because we spend so much time fishing and snorkelling, we often get asked the question; Is the Barrier Reef dying?

And while it is difficult to answer that question definitively, we have found some areas very badly damaged and dying.

We have also found many areas with quite good coral cover, both hard and soft corals.

But on this day, we found the most amazing coral we have seen in 20 years.

Is the Great Barrier Reef dying?

Yes there have been some dramatic events affecting the reef over the past decade.

Turns out a recent report has shown that this year, the reef has experienced a good deal of growth.

The Great Barrier Reef is currently in a recovery window with coral cover rising in all three regions.

After severe cyclones, crown of thorns starfish and back to bleaching events, the resilience of the reef has been severely tested.

A really interesting summary of the long term monitoring of the reef can be seen >> here. Do take the time to have a look.

Media coverage of the Great Barrier Reef dying has been a hot topic of recent years.

As we know they love to cover negative events more than positive ones.

Good news stories are relegated to a 3 minute ‘feel good’  time slot on the nightly news.

So it was refreshing to not only find a pristine reef on our last trip, but also to hear the good news that the reef is indeed recovering.

How long this continues will depend on factors like cyclones, temperature and disease outbreaks.

But as we show in this video, the Great Barrier Reef is not dying quite yet.



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Fishing the Great Barrier Reef

As we know the Barrier Reef supports a myriad of organisms that support fish stocks - all supported by the hard corals (the building blocks of the reef).

We would have to say in recent years, shark depredation has had a significant effect on fish stocks. Rather than the Barrier Reef dying.

It would be great to see more research being done into bull shark numbers because they seem to have exploded in recent years.

Possibly because of significant protection measures brought in a decade ago.

Whilst we understand that large predators like sharks are vital to the reef's health.

We have also noticed an imbalance between bull shark numbers exploding and other sharks that seem to have declined or remained the same.

Yes we do know they have learned to follow boats. But they have been doing that for forty years. It's not newly learned behaviour.


Is the barrier reef dying

Is the Barrier Reef dying? Because of the high coral cover here, I'd say not on this reef it's not!

Stunning coral bommie drone shot

It's sometimes hard to tell if the coral reef is dying until you jump in, because of the reflection and refraction off the water. But this reef looked pristine from above - and it was. We won't divulge the exact location suffice it to say it was off Cooktown.

Large mouth Nannygai

Beautiful specimen caught off Cooktown. Plenty of these hard pulling, fantastic eating fish to be found on Wonky Holes > click here to check out our free Wonky Holes presentation <<

We were astonished to find so much beautiful plate coral.

Bleached coral

While the vast majority of the reef was pristine, we did find some bleached coral. And this trip was after the marine heat wave in mid-March so thankfully this reef was relatively unaffected.

Levitator jig with big fish

Levitator jig in 80g green did the damage for this large-mouth Nannygai. Buy Levitator jigs >>HERE.

Gear and Tackle Used

While fishing inshore Cooktown, we used gear from our gear and tackle cheat sheet.

The cheat sheet contains some of Ryan's favourites.

If they are no longer available, simply ask your tackle shop for the equivalent.

get the free pdf


I hope you enjoyed our video on the Great Barrier Reef dying.

As we mentioned previously, Cooktown is the gateway to the north and we have several blogs in the area.

If you've missed our trip to Princess Charlotte Bay you can watch the whole adventure >> here.

Stay tuned next week as we head offroad and explore Cape Bedford in the Hilux.

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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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