The Great Barrier Reef has suffered extensive damage in recent years, with rising water temperatures killing off large swaths of coral [File: Dan Peled/EPA]

The long-term outlook for Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef has been downgraded to “very poor” for the first time by the official agency charged with managing the World Heritage Site.

In its latest five-yearly report on the health of the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on Friday singled out rising sea temperatures due to climate change as the biggest threat to the giant organism.

The reef has suffered extensive damage in recent years, with rising water temperatures killing off large swaths of coral.

“The significant and large-scale impacts from record-breaking sea surface temperatures have

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