Coral reefs are essential for life. Reefs shelter coastal communities from extreme weather events, provide sources of food, host unique medical cures, hold important historic records, and support valuable tourism. Traditional Owners maintain strong historic and present connections with sea country. Many coastal communities also associate the reef with their own cultural identity.
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet with thousands of species relying on reefs for survival. Although coral reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor, they support an estimated 25 percent of all marine life.
Coral reefs are under increasing pressure from both man-made and natural forces, and are rapidly declining throughout the world. Although Australia's reefs are among the best managed in the world, they are not immune to these threats.
Reefs are important to people. CSIRO interviewed thousands of people across coastal Queensland (2014), which reiterated how much people value and feel connected to the Great Barrier Reef.
- 100% valued the beauty of the Reef (above all other values)
- 64% believe that ‘the Great Barrier Reef is part of my identity’
- 88% felt a personal responsibility to protect the Great Barrier Reef
We need to empower more people help look after this this beautiful, valuable, unique and critically important ecosystem.