It has been a turbulent year for the Great Australian Bight, with the first bleaching event in nearly 70 years.
It was also the site of the first coral bleaching on record, with a total of more than 7,000 dead or dying coral.
But as the bleaching season wore on, the reef has turned around, and now has one of the strongest recovery rates in the world.
The Great Barrier Breakers is a six-week event that takes place every summer from June to October.
It is a popular event for recreational anglers to catch a break from the usual summer heat and humidity.
In 2017, the event attracted about 4,500 anglers, and a total annual revenue of $17.3 million.
The Great Barrier Coast Marine Park Authority (GBMCPA) said the event is still attracting thousands of visitors each year, with more than 6,000 people visiting the reef each year.
“It’s just a testament to the strength of the Great Northern coastline,” Gannett Maritime editor-in-chief David O’Brien said.
“The weather has always been excellent.
It’s not like it’s just in the past year.
We have seen record-breaking tides, it’s always been quite a dry year.
But this year, things have been different.
A number of factors are playing a part in the resilience of the reef, including increased tourism and the fact that it is being visited by a lot of visitors.”
The reef is protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which protects it under the Marine Protected Areas Act 2000.
Its conservation is backed by the Australian Government, which oversees the park.
It’s the first time that the Great North Coast has had a year in which the Great Bight has had two consecutive years of no coral bleached.
This was due to the fact it was the first year in 20 years that no bleaching occurred.
In 2017, there were no bleaches in any year.
“It is the only reef in the Northern Territory that has two consecutive year-on-year bleaching events and there is no other reef in Australia that has that,” Mr O’Connor said.
Gannett Australia editor-at-large, Rob Gwynne, said the coral was a critical food source for fish, and the reef was one of only two regions of the Northern Territories where corals can survive the harsh summer conditions.
“[It’s] a major contributor to the Great South Coast corals and the Great Western corals, as well as the Queensland corals,” he said.
“And this year the Great Southern Reef was one reef that is showing great resilience.”
The reef’s recovery is being backed by a range of organisations, including the Gannetts Maritime Foundation, the GNSW and the ARC.
Gannetts is working with the Government to improve water quality, which is essential for fish and the tourism industry.
“There are a number of people who have made their livelihoods by the reef’s tourism, so this is very important for them,” Mr Gwynna said.
More than 630 species of fish are believed to live in the Great Sea.
The reef’s most important food source is the Pacific seabird, which provides fish for many of the fish that are caught in the area.
“We’re seeing this great increase in fish stocks in the reef,” Mr Furlong said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is forecasting the Great Coastal Marine Park in 2020 to be the world’s sixth largest marine park.