Climate change remains the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, as highlighted in a report recently released by Australia’s lead management agency for the Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s 2019 Outlook Report is published every five years and provides an overview of the condition of the Reef’s ecosystem and heritage values, use, influencing factors, management effectiveness, resilience, and risks to its future.
The other main threats are associated with coastal development, land-based run-off, and threats from direct human use of the Reef (such as illegal fishing).
The report finds the overall long-term outlook for the Reef’s ecosystem is very poor, and the outlook for its heritage values is poor; but optimism remains that with local, national and global action on the greatest threats this can be improved.
The Reef is a large diverse and spectacular ecosystem, and its condition varies geographically. The Reef has shown the ability to recover from impacts if disturbance-free periods are long enough. However, like coral reefs around the world, the Great Barrier Reef is under increasing pressure. It is important to remain vigilant, active and optimistic. Actions we all take now will matter and make a difference to the Reef’s long-term outlook.
Current and future initiatives to improve the long-term outlook
The Reef is one of the best managed marine ecosystems in the world. The Australian and Queensland Governments are making significant investments under a comprehensive plan to protect the Reef, the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Marine Park Authority) is a key delivery partner of the Plan, delivering world-class management to improve the health of the Reef.
The Marine Park Authority will continue to focus on the priority actions under its Reef Blueprint for Resilience to address key threats, which include influencing mitigation of, and adaptation to climate change, enhancing compliance, ramping up crown-of-thorns starfish control, protecting key species, active and localised restoration, and fostering partnerships for action and innovation.
The Marine Park Authority is committed to delivering strong, effective and responsive marine park management to improve the long-term outlook for the Reef and the communities which depend on it.
The full Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019 report, an ‘in-brief’ summary and other supporting resources are available on the Marine Park Authority’s website www.gbrmpa.gov.au.