Photo: Brittglow, School of fish

Australia – The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. The reef is the largest natural feature on earth and stretches more than 2,300 kilometers (1,430 miles) off the coast of Queensland.

The forecasts for the reef’s survival are dire and there have been three mass coral bleaching events since 2016.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

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Danger List

In 2021 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee recommended Australia’s Great Barrier Reef be put on the List of World Heritage in Danger and warned that climate change remains the most serious threat. Debate takes place in July at 44whc.

The Unesco report (WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add) says a revision of Australia’s key reef policy – the reef 2050 plan – should “fully incorporate” conclusions from a major government review that “accelerated action at all possible levels is required to address the threat from climate change”.

After UNESCO first debated the reef’s “in danger” status in 2017, Canberra committed more than A$3 billion (£; $2.2bn) to improving the reef’s health.

Key Links
Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims)

The park lies east of the mainland coast of Queensland, Australia starting in the north of Cape York. Its northern boundary is the circle of latitude 10°41’S (running east up to the eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef at 145º19’33″E), thereby encompassing a few uninhabited Torres Strait Islands that are east of Cape York, south of 10°41’S and north of 11°00’S.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is a multiple-use area. Tourism, recreation, port operations, shipping and commercial fishing have been features of the Marine Park since it was created in 1975. UNESCO selected the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Also see: Townsville

Great Barrier Reef sees record coral cover, but it is highly vulnerable – BBC
Great Barrier Reef should be listed as ‘in danger’, Unesco recommends – Guardian@readfearn
Environment Minister says government will challenge UNESCO move to list Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’

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