Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system. Covering an area the size of Italy, it is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland from the top of Cape York south to Lady Elliot Island (just north of mainland Bundaberg).

A majority of the reef is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for multiple uses (fishing, diving, recreational boating, etc). The Reef was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981 and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Great Barrier Reef is under pressure. In 2017 there was a second year of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. This was unprecedented. However, with a Reef the size of Italy, composed of complex and diverse habitats, even events of this magnitude do not affect the reef equally. That is one of the reasons why you might be reading divergent commentary about Reef health in the media. Some areas are healthy and beautiful, some are showing clear signs of stress with symptoms like coral bleaching and disease; and some areas have been severely impacted by two years of back to back bleaching, cyclones or chronic water quality issues. As a system, the Reef needs our help. 

Reef Check monitors more than 40 sites located in 4 main regions of the coast of Queensland - Cairns/Port Douglas, Townsville, the Whitsunday Islands and the Southern Great Barrier Reef (Heron Island). Citizen science, community engagement and locally based actions to support reef resilience are all identified as important strategies for managing the Great Barrier Reef. We agree! Importantly, these actions close to home must be coupled with quick and notable action on climate change to protect our global icon

We all can, and must, help.

Regional Updates

Clean Ups and Surveys at Fitzroy Island

May 13, 2019
  On the 27th and 28th of April Reef Check Australia volunteers, led by our new GBR Project Coordinator Nathan Cook, completed two underwater and two beach clean-ups at Fitzroy Island in the Cairns region as part of the ReefClean project that is funded through the  Australian Government’s Reef Trust which is rolling out across the Great Barrier Reef. The ReefClean project is being delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations, including Reef Check Australia.   They completed a beach clean up at Welcome Bay and Nudey Beach and underwater clean ups offshore Welcome Bay, predominantly underneath the boat moorings East of the arrival pier and underneath the boat moorings West of the arrival pier. They found that most of the trash collected on land was predominantly litter from visitors to the island disposing of their rubbish carelessly.   In their data report, which is submitted into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database, the team noted that among the most common items found were discarded bottles, fishing gear, clothes and clothes pegs and many hair ties found in the water close to shore.    The team also took the opportunity to undertake surveys on the sites visited. Thanks as ever to our awesome volunteer surveyors for their efforts!
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Welcome to our Newest Team Member!

March 21, 2019
  The Reef Check Australia team is excited to be joined by our new Great Barrier Reef Project Coordinator! Nathan Cook is an applied scientist and specialist in coral reef restoration and capacity building. He has been a passionate advocate for sustainability and stewardship in coral reef ecosystems in South East Asia and Australia for nearly 20 years.   A PADI Master Instructor with over 3500 dives, Nathan became a Reef Check Indo-Pacific Instructor trainer in 2013, pioneering an innovative coral reef conservation program in Thailand. He has led and taught coral reef survey programs, practical coral reef conservation and marine resource management, and designed and implemented a range of experiential learning programs, including curricula focused on integrating the theory of marine management with active reef restoration techniques development and installation of coral nurseries and artificial reefs.  Nathan combines his skills and experience to pursue his passion for supporting developing countries in creating self-sustaining systems of conservation and preservation of their coral reef ecosystems. We are thrilled to have Nathan joining our team and look forward to getting busy on the GBR over the coming months!
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Join Our GBR Team!

January 03, 2019
We're Hiring! Reef Check Australia has a current vacancy for a GBR Project Coordinator. The successful applicant for this position will be based in Townsville and will have a unique blend of science, field experience and community engagement skills to plan, coordinate and lead our Great Barrier Reef projects.       If you think this sounds like you - check out the job description and apply now!  
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