Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
|Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
Boardwalk through a beautiful mangrove forest featured in Estuarine Conservation Zone as part of The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
|Area||345,000 km2 (133,205.2 sq mi)|
|Website||Great Barrier Reef Marine Park|
|See also||Protected areas of Queensland|
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects a large part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef from damaging activities. It is a vast multiple-use Marine Park which supports a wide range of uses, including commercial marine tourism, fishing, ports and shipping, recreation, scientific research and Indigenous traditional use. Fishing and the removal of artefacts or wildlife (fish, coral, seashells, etc.) is strictly regulated, and commercial shipping traffic must stick to certain specific defined shipping routes that avoid the most sensitive areas of the park. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and best known coral reef ecosystem in the world. Its reefs, almost 3000 in total, represent about 10 per cent of all the coral reef areas in the world. It supports an amazing variety of biodiversity, providing a home to thousands of coral and other invertebrate species, bony fish, sharks, rays, marine mammals, marine turtles, sea snakes, as well as algae and other marine plants.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is responsible for the care and protection of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It uses a range of tools to manage the marine park including Acts and Regulations, zoning plan, plans of management, Traditional Owner agreements, partnerships, stewardship and best practice, education, research and monitoring and reporting. It issues permits for various forms of use of the marine park, and monitors usage in the park to ensure compliance with rules and regulations associated with the park. GBRMPA is funded by Commonwealth Government appropriations and an environmental management charge levied on the permit-holders' passengers. Currently this is A$6.00 per day per passenger (to a maximum of $16.50 per trip).
The park lies east of the mainland coast of Queensland, starting in the north at 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 those few uninhabited Torres Strait Islands that are east of Cape York, south of 10°41'S and north of 11°00'S. The largest of those island are Albany Island (5.9 km2 or 2.3 sq mi), Turtle Head Island 12.8 km2 or 4.9 sq mi and Trochus Island 2.2 km2 or 0.85 sq mi. Further islands are Mai Island 0.25 km2 or 0.097 sq mi, Bush Island 0.2 km2 or 0.077 sq mi, Tree Islet 0.01 km2 or 0.0039 sq mi, Brewis Island 0.05 km2 or 0.019 sq mi, and a few unnamed islets.
In 1975, the Government of Australia enacted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, which created the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and defined what acts were prohibited on the Reef. The Australian Government also has recognised the ecological significance of this Park by its inclusion in the nation's Biodiversity Action Plan. The Government of Australia manages the reef through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and in partnership with the Government of Queensland, to ensure that it is widely understood and used in a sustainable manner. A combination of zoning, management plans, permits, education and incentives (such as eco-tourism certification) is used in the effort to conserve the Great Barrier Reef.
As many species of the Great Barrier Reef are migratory, many international, national, and interstate conventions or pieces of legislation must be taken into account when strategies for conservation are made.
Some international conventions that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park must follow are: the Bonn Convention, Ramsar Site (for the Bowling Green Bay National Park site), CITES, JAMBA and CAMBA. Some national legislation that the Park must follow are: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development, National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity, Australia’s Oceans Policy, National Strategy for the Conservation of Australian Species and Communities Threatened with Extinction. Some state legislation that the Park must follow are: Nature Conservation Act 1992, Marine Parks Act 1982, Fisheries Act 1994, Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994.
For example, the Queensland Government has enacted several plans attempting to regulate fishing. The East Coast Trawl Management Plan 1999 aimed to regulate trawling through limiting the times when trawling is permitted and restricting gear used. The Fisheries (Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery) Management Plan 2003 aimed at reducing the annual commercial catch to 1996 levels, disallowing fishing when the fish are spawning and increasing the minimum legal size of fish.
The Great Barrier Reef was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. Up until 1999, there were four main zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. They were the "Far Northern", "Cairns", "Central" and "Mackay/Capricorn" sections. These zoning sections were created between 1983–1987. Another section, the "Gumoo Woojabuddee" section was declared in 1998. Each section had its own zoning plan. The Great Barrier Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 superseded all previous zoning plans, coming into effect on 1 July 2004.
In July 2004, a new zoning plan was brought into effect for the entire Marine Park, and has been widely acclaimed as a new global benchmark for the conservation of marine ecosystems. The rezoning was based on the application of systematic conservation planning techniques, using the MARXAN software. On 1 July 2004 the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park became the largest protected sea area in the world when the Australian Government increased the areas protected from extractive activities (such as fishing) from 4.6% to 33.3% of the park. As of 2006[update], the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument is the largest protected marine area in the world. The management committee draws inspiration from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's management strategies.
The current method of zoning is called the "Representative Areas Program", which chooses "typical" areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. They can then be protected in "Green Zones" (no-take zones). The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area has been divided into 70 bioregions, of which 30 are reef bioregions, and 40 are non-reef bioregions.
In 2006, a review was undertaken of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. Some recommendations of the review are that there should be no further zoning plan changes until 2013, and that every five years, a peer-reviewed Outlook Report should be published, examining the health of the Great Barrier Reef, the management of the Reef, and environmental pressures.
In 2012, legislation was introduced which compelled developers to deposit money into the Reef Trust. Tiffany Morrison argues that this has made it easier for developments to be approved in the region.
The week before 21 July 2013, on the second day of the biennial joint training exercise Talisman Saber, two American AV-8B Harrier fighter jets launched from aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) dropped four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), into more than 50 metres (164 ft) of water. None exploded and no coral was damaged.
People such as scientists, conservationists, developers, managers, tourism entrepreneurs and politicians have had major influences on the history of the reef  In 2015, the Australian Government and Reef Ecologic Pty Ltd conducted a coral reef training course to build capacity to protect coral reefs 
The Crown of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci), while native to the reef, poses one of its greatest threats when outbreaks occur. Several efforts have been made to identify and control these outbreaks, including the COTSBot developed by Queensland University of Technology.
These outbreaks and subsequent threats have led to an increase in awareness and appearances in mainstream media, as industry and conservation groups try to control the COTS and protect the reef. An infographic explaining the process of identifying and targeting this threat can be seen here.
Outlook for the Reef
The Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014, published every five years, examines the Great Barrier Reef’s health, pressures, and likely future.
The report is required under Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (section 54) and aims to provide a regular and reliable means of assessing reef health and management in an accountable and transparent way.
The report finds the greatest risks to the Reef are still climate change, land-based run-off, coastal development, some fishing impacts and illegal fishing and poaching.
- Beanley Island
- Beesley Island
- Bewick Island
- Blackwood Island
- Chapman Island
- Clerke Island
- Gore Island
- Haggerston Island
- Hales Island
- Halfway Islet
- Hampton Island
- Hannibal Islands
- Hay Island
- Hicks Island
- Howick Island
- Lady Elliot Island
- Turtle Head Island
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2009). "Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009" (PDF). Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- Authority, Great Barrier Marine Park. "Environmental management charge".
- Commonwealth of Australia (1996). "National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity". Archived from the original on 23 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Fauna and Flora of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area". Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006.
- The State of Queensland (Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries) (2004). Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery Annual Status Report [online PDF]. Available: http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/extra/pdf/fishweb/eastcoastrawlsummary.pdf [Access date: 9 June 2006]
- The State of Queensland (Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries) (unknown date). Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery Management Plan – A summary [online]. Available: http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/11379.html [Access date: 28 May 2006]
- UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1980). World Heritage Sites – Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area [online]. Available: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 January 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2006. [Access date: 10 June 2006]
-  Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2003). "Zoning Plan 2003" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 October 2006. Retrieved 2 October 2006. (PDF)
- Fernandes et al. (2005) Establishing representative no-take areas in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale implementation of theory on marine protected areas, Conservation Biology, 19(6), 1733–1744.
- Environment News Service – International Daily Newswire (2004). Fish Boats Barred From One-Third of Great Barrier Reef [online]. Available: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jul2004/2004-07-01-06.asp [Access date: 28 May 2006]
- "AM - Bush's ocean sanctuary pleases green groups".
-  Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Representative Areas in the Marine Park". Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Reef Bioregions of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area". Archived from the original on 18 September 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Non-Reef Bioregions of the Great Barrier Reef". Archived from the original on 18 September 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
- Department of the Environment and Heritage. "Review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975". Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- "Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report". mats remi sørlie. 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Great Barrier Reef Marine Park tourism in running for top accolade". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
- "Alert over Barrier Reef oil leak". BBC News. 4 April 2010.
- Morrison, Tiffany. "The Great Barrier Reef's safety net is becoming more complex but less effective". The Conversation. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
- "Bombs dropped on Great Barrier Reef marine park". 21 July 2013.
- "PechaKucha 20x20 - Reef Ecologic - Great reef people,from explorers to guardians.". PechaKucha 20x20. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- Ecologic, Reef (June 2015). "Coral Reef Management for sustainable development" (PDF). www.reefecologic.com.au. Reef Ecologic. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "2015 Coral Reef Management Fellowship: a Summary". Reef Ecologic - Research & Consulting. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
- Authority, Great Barrier Marine Park. "Crown-of-thorns starfish".
- ReefFree. "Sharing Your Photos to Help the Reef - Crown of Thorns Starfish Outbreak - ReefFree".
- "Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014". Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2015.