The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. Sprawling out for 2,300km along the Australian coastline, it brings together an eclectic mix of coral and marine life. It is now a World and National Heritage site, with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 overseeing all the activities that take place in the area.
So Why is the Great Barrier Reef So Important?
Coral reefs are vitally important for a number of reasons. Not only are they incredibly diverse, providing ideal living environments for both endangered and non-endangered creatures, but they also act as protection against the damaging effects of waves and storms on coastlines.
In addition, they are the source of food for millions of creatures and provide jobs for numerous different people.
What’s Happening to the Corals?
Like with any natural resource, the Great Barrier Reef faces some threats, including the degradation by a number of factors, including overfishing, pollution, and outbreaks of predatory species. The constant threats that loom over it means that the area has a considerable amount of conservation efforts in place.
Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef
The groups protecting the reef all have one main aim – to protect and manage the ecosystem for future generations. On average, the Australian and Queensland governments invest around $200 million annually into the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
There are a number of things the government and other groups are doing to protect the reef, including the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, which regularly reviews the state of conservation on the reef.
Tourism and Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef
Because of its world-famous status, the Great Barrier Reef is an incredibly popular tourist hotspot. But, though it might seem like tourism is a bad thing for such a delicate natural region, it actually might be helping the conservation efforts.
You see, only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef is open for tourism – a miniscule amount compared to the seemingly never-ending length of it. Many of the boats that take tourists out are part of the conservation efforts. They are actively engaged in reporting changes to government bodies and relevant scientists so the efforts are constantly kept up to date.
Tourism is such a huge part of the Great Barrier Reef and it will continue to be so, especially now that everyone is coming together to protect and maintain the natural beauty of this impressive world wonder.