Great Barrier Reef

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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.
When World Heritage sites are under threat, like Florida’s Everglades National Park, they are added to the List of World Heritage in Danger. Flickr/slack12

Explainer: what is the List of World Heritage in Danger?

The United Nations is set to decide whether to add the Great Barrier Reef to the List of World Heritage in Danger. But what is the list, and what does it mean for the places that are on it?
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.
More mines, more roads, as the government puts its drive towards economic development ahead of all else. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

There are no green shoots for sustainability in this Budget

Amid talk of paths to surplus and investing in infrastructure, both sides of politics seem to have forgotten Australia's longstanding responsibility to govern sustainably, and not just for the economy.
Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt at last year’s Green Army launch. Funding for the initiative has been slimmed down but is still more than A$700 million. AAP Image/Britta Campion

Federal Budget 2015 – environment experts react

The Federal Budget 2015 makes little mention of emissions reductions or renewable energy, but does feature funding boosts for drought assistance and the Great Barrier Reef. What else is in?
Julie Bishop with her counterpart Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Bishop’s headwear attracted attention and some criticism in Australia. EPA/Stringer

Julie Bishop’s Barrier Reef mission

Julie Bishop's high profile as foreign minister must surely be rivalling that of Kevin Rudd.
The World Heritage Committee has called for a comprehensive assessment not just of the threats to the Great Barrier Reef, but of their cumulative effect. AAP Image/Australian Institute for Marine Science, Ray Berkelmans

Is Australia meeting the UN recommendations for the Great Barrier Reef?

The government says it has met all of the recommendations for safeguarding the Great Barrier Reef. But a close reading of the dozens of UN recommendations shows that many have been only partly fulfilled.
The new Reef 2050 plan is taking the long view on protecting the Great Barrier Reef - but does it have the right vision? Nickj/Wikimedia Commons

Government unveils 2050 Great Barrier Reef plan: experts react

The federal and Queensland governments have unveiled their blueprint for protecting the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. Will the $2 billion plan succeed? Our experts give their verdicts.
Turtles are among the species that could be harmed by dredging, even under the government’s new dredge dumping rules. AAP Image/University of QLD

Six ways Australia is selectively reporting to the UN on the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian government’s latest report on the Great Barrier Reef, submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre last Friday, has been carefully crafted and word-smithed, with many of its claims supported…
During an outbreak, crown-of-thorns starfish can number in the millions and decimate coral reefs. Australian Institute of Marine Science/AAP

How scaring starfish could help to save the Great Barrier Reef

Crown-of-thorns starfish are one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half its coral cover, with almost half of this coral loss due to the crown-of-thorns…
A diver on the Great Barrier Reef with a pair of Barrier Reef Anemonefish – cousins of the clown fish made famous in the film “Finding Nemo”. Flickr/Richard Ling

Six things Queensland’s next government must do to save the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a national and global icon, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981. Since then, it’s become apparent that this vast array of marine ecosystems – stretching along 2,300 kilometres…
Should coal projects be held responsible for the greenhouse emissions that flow from their product, even if it’s burned on another continent? CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Court challenge will test coal mining’s climate culpability

A new legal challenge to the proposed Carmichael coal mine – Australia’s largest – will test in the federal court whether climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account…
After mass bleaching in 1998, more than half of coral reefs in the Seychelles have slowly recovered. Nick Graham

Obituaries for coral reefs may be premature, study finds

Coral reefs are the poster child for the damage people are doing to the world’s oceans. Overfishing, pollution and declining water quality have all taken their toll on reefs around the world. Perhaps the…

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