Articles on Great Barrier Reef Threats series

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The World Heritage Committee’s deliberations involved far more than a simple tick for the Great Barrier Reef. Jon Day

Not out of hot water yet: what the world thinks about the Great Barrier Reef

Australia was spared the ignominy of having the Great Barrier Reef listed as officially in danger. But comments from member countries of the World Heritage Committee show the world is still worried about it.
It’s still too early to declare that it’s blue skies for the Great Barrier Reef. Underwater Earth/Catlin Seaview Survey/Wikimedia Commons

The Barrier Reef is not listed as in danger, but the threats remain

Whether it's on the official "in danger" list or not, the Great Barrier Reef is clearly under threat. UNESCO has placed its faith in Australia, but without urgent action the problems will not go away.
Australia has persuaded UNESCO it has a plan to save the Great Barrier Reef - now the policies and funds must materialise. AAP Image/Tourism and Events Queensland

Australia reprieved – now it must prove it can care for the Reef

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has spared Australia's blushes by opting not to list the Great Barrier Reef as 'in danger'. But it has also demanded that Australia make good on its plans to save it.
The Curtis Island gas precinct is one of the biggest developments along the Great Barrier Reef coast. AAP Image/Greenpeace

Development and the Reef: the rules have been lax for too long

The coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef is home to ports, farms, holiday resorts, and more than a million people. It all puts pressure on the Reef, and it's time for some firms plans to manage it.
Loggerhead turtle populations are facing a brighter future, but many other species are still in decline, while for others there are no data at all. AAP Image/Lauren Bath

We’ve only monitored a fraction of the Barrier Reef’s species

The Great Barrier Reef is home to some 1,600 species of bony fish, 130 sharks and rays, and turtles, mammals and more. Most have had no population monitoring, meaning we don't know how well they are faring.
The MV Shen Neng I spills oil onto the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. Large accidents are rare, but there is still very little monitoring of long-term chronic damage from shipping. AAP Image/AMSA

Shipping in the Great Barrier Reef: the miners’ highway

Port traffic near the Great Barrier Reef will more than double by 2025, as coal and other exports grow. While major incidents are rare, the chronic toll on the reef itself still remains largely unknown.
A flood plume containing sediments, nutrients and pesticides flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef from Bundaberg. AAP Image/James Cook University

Cloudy issue: we need to fix the Barrier Reef’s murky waters

Successive plans to curb the sediments, nutrients and pesticides flowing into the waters around the Great Barrier Reef have fallen short, leaving the corals that call the reef home highly vulnerable.

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