Ghostly reefs force marketing twist

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Bleached coral wastelands could soon become new dive attractions as the Great Barrier Reef teeters on the brink of widespread bleaching.

It’s one more marketing approach being considered by worried Queensland tourism operators amid continuing threats to the world’s largest tropical coral reef system.

A new threat this week came in warnings of another devastating coral bleaching event after scientists discovered a wasteland of white corals in the Keppel Islands off the central Queensland coast.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, chairman of the Bleaching Working Group, said after four months of warmer sea temperatures, readings were now similar to those experienced between 2001 and 2002 when the Great Barrier Reef suffered its worst coral bleaching event.

Up to 60 per cent of the reef