Invitation to go to the mass coral bleaching and watch the fish • Watts are you carried out with that?

From Jennifer Marohasy’s blog

Jennifer Marohasy

I don’t think he was ever there – not once. But he has an opinion about the Great Barrier Reef. When I last checked, more than 111,000 of his followers (after just hours after it was posted) roared back the nonsensical message that the Great Barrier Reef is of course overcrowded and of course Peter Ridd is an underling of the sugar cane farmers – and the big tobacco companies too. Following this short YouTube channel are hundreds of congratulatory comments which confirm what I already knew that most of us here in Australia have become useful idiots. In political jargon, the term “useful idiot” refers to a person who supposedly advocates for a cause—especially a bad cause.

Too many Australians, young and old, voting Labour, Green, Liberal or Blue-Green largely give up their ability to reason in order to behave in fashion. It doesn’t have to be like this. It could be different, especially if the Jordan Shanks among us would first take some time to fact-check. Nobody does that anymore.

I emailed Jordan Shanks the following short message yesterday.
Dear kind Jordie,

I just watched your episode on the Riddler and the Reef. I was hoping to see you in the water with some coral.

[I should have written with some sharks.]

How about you come over with me? We could visit the epicenter of the recent massive coral bleaching event, John Brewer Reef. We could go snorkeling over the reef crest together. You can see for yourself what condition it is in.

Graham Readfearn reported in the Guardian that it was the worst of the worst bleaching and then there were the official aerial photographs also reporting the bleaching. Last year even the UNESCO members of the United Nations visited – but not the John Brewer Reef. They said it was all dead and dying.

This map was promoted through March and April 2022 as it shows the Great Barrier Reef suffering from massive coral bleaching with the impression that most of the coral was dying.

But guess what: the assessment team never visited any of the reefs reported as bleached/dead and dying. The experts based their reports on the bleaching on flybys, which assess the condition of the corals from a plane window 150 meters up.

I tried that. You can’t see much. To learn the condition of the corals, you need to get in and under the water. Come and see it with me.

I’ve been underwater with John Brewer a few times and even filmed a short underwater documentary showing the corals up close.

You can watch the film here,

But of course it’s never the same as seeing it with your own eyes.

Corals at John Brewer Reef were filmed underwater and by drone at 5, 10, 20, 40 and 120 meters in early April 2022 – when this reef was reported as the epicenter of the sixth massive coral bleaching event. Contrary to media headlines, John Brewer Reef had good coral cover and the corals were colorful and healthy.

Kind Jordie, if you come over with me I can also show you the remains of the coral that was intentionally destroyed – by the fish. The hungry fish that eat the best coral.

You probably didn’t know that a humphead parrotfish eats about six tons of coral a year. Out on John Brewer Reef, they prefer the corals that have been replanted with all the government money. These fish cost Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year by eating the coral that you and I paid to replant. All of this certainly has another and bigger story.

You mentioned the old corals, the 500 year old corals, in your Riddler Ridd episode.

It was during lockdown in November 2020 that my dear friend, the late Rob McCulloch, called me and cried into his beer. He was devastated when he had to pay for a charter he secured for marlin fishermen and ET (Andrew Ettingshause) who has this TV show. However, due to the lockdowns, ET was unable to get across the border into Queensland.

I instead suggested that Rob take me for a week in search of Porites — those 500-year-old corals that are reported to be all dead because the reef is overcrowded. You know the story, the popular tale.

To be clear, the porites are massive, ancient, sturdier corals, some the size of minibuses, with growth rings that resemble tree rings, faithfully recording the ocean’s climate history.

Well, they used to do it before. How the story goes.

I wanted to go as far as Myrmidon Reef, because that’s where scientists used to go in really big ships to gut the really, really old Porites.

We were there for a week. Dennis, Wizzy, Shaun, Stuart, me and the skipper – Rob. [You can see us here, on the back of the Marlin fishing boat, Kiama.]

I am thankful for this experience. The adventure was funded by the B.Macfie Family Foundation through the Institute of Public Affairs after I called John Roskam. He took a risk and believed in me when I said this was the chance of a lifetime.

I made a film about this adventure and it even includes Riddle’s Ridd – as you call him.

You can watch Finding Porites here:

Under water we found a whole garden of Porites. It was the white tip reef shark that showed us the way. Finally.

Visit us here in Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef and see some coral and coral eating fish. I’ve been trying for a number of years to get the experts at the Australian Institute of Marine Science to sit down in front of a camera and answer a few questions about the flybys and the bleaching. I’ve always wanted to ask them how they reconcile the extraordinary beauty and resilience of John Brewer Reef with their nonsensical maps – with no evidence or even photos. How they reconcile their claims of mass coral bleaching with all the colorful fish and coral I can see underwater.

Maybe if you, Jordan Shanks, come, they will come, and we can all go. Together. Even with Riddle’s Ridd. To John Brewer Reef, the epicenter of the recent much publicized sixth mass coral bleaching event.

We could maybe fly by and then go underwater the next day or at least snorkel over the reef crest.

Cheers, friendly Jennie

Doctors Jennifer Marohasy (aka Friendly Jennie) and Peter Ridd (aka The Riddler) walked across a mudflat south of the town of Bowen. On the other side of the mud flats you will find beautiful corals, at low tide you don’t even have to get in the water. Come and see.

The main image is by Toby and shows a school of Humphead Parrotfish. These are coral fish; each humphead eating around 6 tonnes of coral each year – a school of them (usually hanging around in groups of 30) eats about as much coral as all the coral planted each year at great expense to Australian taxpayers.

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