24 Mar 2003

Seven reefs in American Samoa are found to be suffering from coral bleaching

7:13 am on 24 March 2003

The World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC says that coral bleaching is occuring at all of its seven research sites in American Samoa.

A primary investigator for the WWF research project, Dr Lara Hansen, said the bleaching seen at the research sites indicated that climate change required more complex responses than the creation of protected areas alone.

The WWF said up to thirty per cent of the coral reef had bleached at Maloata Bay, with most other sites experiencing bleaching of between ten to twenty per cent.

She said monitoring showed water temperatures at the reefs had increased one and a half degrees celsius above the annual high, for the six weeks preceeding the surveys