Responsibility for establishing, planning and running the marine park rests with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, a Commonwealth Government agency. , A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. , Approximately two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year. It reaches from Torres Strait (between Bramble Cay, its northernmost island, and the south coast of Papua New Guinea) in the north to the unnamed passage between Lady Elliot Island (its southernmost island) and Fraser Island in the south.  The percentage of baby corals being born on the Great Barrier Reef dropped drastically in 2018 and scientists are describing it as the early stage of a "huge natural selection event unfolding". With the Great Barrier Reef facing its third mass bleaching event in five years, these efforts are more important now than ever. The announcement of the grant was subject to backlash as the grant had avoided proper tender and transparency processes. The outer part of the Great Barrier Reef is favoured for such activities, due to water quality. Great Barrier Reef islands biosecurity , However, whereas the 2050 plan aims to incorporate protective measures such as improving water quality, reef restoration, killing of predatory starfish, it does not incorporate additional measures to address the root cause the problem namely climate change (which is caused by greenhouse gas emissions). Tourism operators also must comply with speed limits when travelling to or from tourist destinations, to prevent excessive wake from the boats disturbing the reef ecosystem. The Report Card shows how we are progressing towards achieving the finer-scale water quality targets, including reducing primary pollutants (nutrients, fine sediments and pesticides), for the 35 major river basins that flow into the Great Barrier Reef.  For these 70 or so clan groups, the reef is also an important cultural feature. Read on for more detail and tips from our experts in our guide to the Great Barrier Reef. :37, The land that formed the substrate of the current Great Barrier Reef was a coastal plain formed from the eroded sediments of the Great Dividing Range with some larger hills (most of which were themselves remnants of older reefs or, in rare cases, volcanoes:26). :27 The Great Barrier Reef's development history is complex; after Queensland drifted into tropical waters, it was largely influenced by reef growth and decline as sea level changed. The Act commenced on 1 July 2007 and amended the governance, accountability and transparency requirements of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. A taskforce of scientists was also created to assess the impact of different parts of the plan on the quality of water flowing into the coral reefs. Boat sizes range from dinghies to superyachts. A study showed that a doubling of the chlorophyll in the water leads to a tenfold increase in the crown-of-thorns starfish larvae's survival rate. Potential significant harms have been identified in relation to dredge spoil and the process of churning up the sea floor in the area and exposing it to air: firstly, new research shows the finer particles of dredge spoil can cloud the water and block sunlight, thereby starving sea grass and coral up to distances of 80 km away from the point of origin due to the actions of wind and currents. The reef is protected by two complementary pieces of federal legislation: These acts provide an internationally recognised world class system of environment and heritage protection. ), Gondwana to Greenhouse: environmental geoscience – an Australian perspective.  A previously undiscovered reef, 500 meters tall and 1.5 km wide at the base, was found in the northern area in 2020. The Great Barrier Reef is under pressure from many factors—one of which is the poor quality of water running into it from adjacent catchments.  At the time, it was the largest Marine Protected Area in the world, although in 2006, the new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument became the largest. GPO Box 858 , The Great Barrier Reef supports an extraordinary diversity of life, including many vulnerable or endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the reef system. Category 5 Tropical Cylcone Yasi has recently caused physical damage to the reef, and there are the huge … Other threats include shipping accidents, oil spills, and tropical cyclones. After the plan is finalised, activity in different bioregions may become limited based on particular threats an activity may pose.. The types of corals that reproduced also changed, leading to a "long-term reorganisation of the reef ecosystem if the trend continues. By around 13,000 years ago the sea level was only 60 metres (200 ft) lower than the present day, and corals began to surround the hills of the coastal plain, which were, by then, continental islands.  Around 125 species of shark, stingray, skates or chimaera live on the reef. , Thirty species of cetaceans have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef, including the dwarf minke whale, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the humpback whale. This is the main mechanism for delivering against the water quality outcome from the Reef 2050 Plan and will guide how industry, government and the community will work together to improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. As a result of these changes, we estimate that dissolved inorganic nitrogen loads were reduced by a further 1.2% to give a total reduction of 26.7% to date. Australia's key national environment law, the, a five-yearly, peer-reviewed 'Outlook Report' to document the overall condition of the marine park to be tabled in Parliament and published, an enhanced process to engage stakeholders in the development of zoning plans for the marine park. Additional actions to control crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and reduce the incidence of new outbreaks through partnerships between managing agencies and marine tourism operators are being funded under the Reef Trust Great Barrier Reef Foundation Partnership. Solutions have been suggested to siphon bird waste into gutters connecting to tanks helping lower runoff that causes coral disease.  The Queensland "shark control" program uses shark nets and drum lines with baited hooks to kill sharks in the Great Barrier Reef – there are 173 lethal drum lines in the Great Barrier Reef. These forms of pollution have made the reef less resilient to climate change. It's important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds..  Queensland's "shark control" program killed about 50,000 sharks from 1962 to 2018. The Program will be guided by the Sediment Working Group, who will provide technical, policy and strategic input into how best to tackle gully and streambank remediation to maximise the on ground actions. The reef's substrate may have needed to build up from the sediment until its edge was too far away for suspended sediments to inhibit coral growth. Region", "Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Culture & Dugongs and Turtles", "A history of exploration and research on the Great Barrier Reef", Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World, "Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975", "Fact Sheet – Marine Regional Bioregional Planning – The Process", "Reef Water Quality Protection Plan 2009", "Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009 in Brief", "Greg Hunt approves dredging off Queensland to create huge coalport", "Dredge dumping: just because you can doesn't mean you should", "Dredge dumping banned on Great Barrier Reef", "Ecological Economics Criteria for Sustainable Tourism: Application to the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas, Australia", "Summary report of the social and economic impacts of the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park", "Is Australia shooting itself in the foot with reef port expansions? In 2001, the GBRMPA released a report about the declining water quality in the Great Barrier Reef and detailed the importance of this issue. , Saltwater crocodiles live in mangrove and salt marshes on the coast near the reef. But we have some way to go to meet the water quality targets. Great Barrier Reef: Australia must act urgently on water quality, says Unesco. The rate of loss of natural wetlands has slowed, with less than 0.1% loss, or 556 hectares, between 2013 and 2017. These will build on existing direct control activities being undertaken as part of the Australian Government Reef Program. Who Manages The Reef. :18 Eastern Australia experienced a period of tectonic uplift, which moved the drainage divide in Queensland 400 km (250 mi) inland. The first step is to identify regional conservation priorities in the five (currently) different marine regions. Each assessment is judged by these criteria and given a grade.  Four hundred coral species, both hard corals and soft corals inhabit the reef. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, dumping of dredging sludge and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.  By far, the most popular tourist activities on the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving, for which pontoons are often used, and the area is often enclosed by nets. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) stated "We have strongly encouraged the company to investigate options that do not entail releasing the material to the environment and to develop a management plan to eliminate this potential hazard; however, GBRMPA does not have legislative control over how the Yabulu tailings dam is managed". Dugong. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in Cairns and also The Whitsundays due to their accessibility. 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