FIRST OUTBREAK OF CORAL BLEACHING REPORTED IN MARSHALL ISLANDS

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 19, 2002 – Radio New Zealand International)---The Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Authority reports that the first case of coral bleaching has been reported on Jaluit and Majuro atolls.

The authority’s general manager, John Bungitak, says a combination of low tides and high surface temperatures is responsible for the outbreak.

However, Dr. Silvia Pinca from the College of the Marshall Islands Marine Science Program says the conditions lasted for only a few days and the coral is expected to recover. He urged ongoing monitoring.

Coral bleaching is a huge problem in Australia where as much as 60 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching.

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.

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