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Great Barrier Reef ravaged: DiCaprio

AAP logoAAP 15/09/2016 Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

The wide-scale bleaching of Australia's Great Barrier Reef the past year has been cited at a high-powered conference in Washington DC as one of the top examples of the destruction of the world's marine ecosystems.

Oscar winner and environmental crusader Leonardo DiCaprio, sharing a stage at the Our Oceans Conference on Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, said world leaders and communities needed to take bold actions to protect the health of oceans.

"This year, Australia's Great Barrier Reef suffered what is thought to be the largest bleaching event ever recorded," Mr DiCaprio said in an address to the conference.

"Over 600 miles (965km) of reef previously teeming with life is devastated.

"We are seeing this level of impact to coral reefs around the world from Hawaii to the Florida Keys, from Madagascar to Indonesia."

US President Barack Obama addressed the conference earlier on Thursday and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is scheduled to attend on Friday.

The actor, who just premiered his new documentary Before the Flood at the Toronto Film Festival, spoke about the catastrophe he believes global warming will inflict on South-Pacific nations.

"I also recently visited Palau and met with the leaders of Kiribati, two island nations in the South Pacific that are feeling the impacts of a warming climate right now,"

"Houses are being abandoned because of the rising tides. Whole communities face an uncertain future as their islands shrink, water closing in around them.

"The nation of Kiribati is already preparing for the unprecedented relocation of their people, having purchased land in Fiji to accommodate an almost certain migration from their home."

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