Great Southern Reef

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The Great Southern Reef (GSR) is a system of interconnected temperate rocky reefs near the southern coast of Australia. It covers 71,000 km2 and straddles five states across the southern coastline of the Australian continent, running almost 8,000 kilometers from Brisbane south around Tasmania to Kalbarri north of Perth.[1][2]


Kelp forests are a defining feature of the reef. The reef supports economic activities along Australia's southern coastline, such as commercial and recreational fishing, scuba diving, surfing and other tourism. These activities contribute at least $10 billion to the Australian economy each year.[1][3] Biologically, it is a unique temperate marine ecosystem, with 30 to 80% of its species found nowhere else.[1][4]


The name "Great Southern Reef" was proposed by a group of researchers from the University of Western Australia in order to raise awareness of the reef. They hope that this will increase interest in studying and protecting the reef.[5]

Oil drilling[edit]

There have been proposals for oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight, and there are concerns that this will impact on the Great Southern Reef. Conditions in the water are rough and this could lead to an oil spill.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Bennett, Wernberg; et al. (2016). "The 'Great Southern Reef': social, ecological and economic value of Australia's neglected kelp forests". Marine and Freshwater Research. doi:10.1071/mf15232.
  2. ^ Wernberg, Bennett; et al. (2015). "Australia's 'other' reef is worth more than $10 billion a year - but have you heard of it?".
  3. ^ "Australia's forgotten attraction: The Great Southern Reef". 4BC. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  4. ^ "Australia's 'other' reef". News | The University Of Western Australia. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  5. ^ "Is it time for the Great Southern Reef?". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  6. ^ Slezak, Michael (15 December 2018). "Australia's other great reef, where oil companies want to drill for riches". ABC News. Retrieved 15 December 2018.

35°00′14″S 135°57′37″E / 35.0038380°S 135.9603483°E / -35.0038380; 135.9603483Coordinates: 35°00′14″S 135°57′37″E / 35.0038380°S 135.9603483°E / -35.0038380; 135.9603483