Scientists are part way through the most extensive reef survey of the Coral Sea Marine Park ever undertaken.

The mission aims to improve the understanding of coral reef health and fish communities as well as provide an opportunity to discover new marine species and measure levels of ocean pollution.

The project will monitor 20 large reef ecosystems in the Coral Sea Marine Park annually over the next three years.

The next expedition will focus on the southern-most reefs, including the remote Mellish Reef which lies more than 800 kilometres off the Australian mainland.

"With a management plan coming into effect for the Coral Sea for the first time in July this year, it is very important that we monitor the health of these isolated coral reef ecosystems and increase our understanding of these amazing places,” said Park Australia director of national parks Dr James Findlay.

“The voyage will also be assessing micro-plastics in the Coral Sea Marine Park and removing marine debris from the islets and cays.”

More information is available here.