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Seeing is Believing.....
The Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef includes over 2,900 reefs, around 940 islands and cays, and stretches 2,300 kms along the Queensland coastline. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is 345,000 km2, that's larger than the entire area of the UK and Ireland combined!
The reef is immensely diverse with 1,500 species of fish, 359 types of hard coral, one third of the world's soft corals, 175 bird species, six of the world's seven species of threatened marine turtle and more than 30 species of marine mammals including vulnerable dugongs.
Add to that stunning marine life are 5,000 to 8,000 molluscs and thousands of different sponges, worms, crustaceans, 800 species of echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins) and 215 bird species, of which 29 are seabirds.
The Great Barrier Reef is listed under all four natural World Heritage criteria for its outstanding universal value
Protecting our marine wonderland.
Historically, the Reef has been regarded as a well-
Immediate action was required to protect the reef because only 4.6% of the reef was fully protected. As a result of public campaigning and pressure from WWF, the Australian Government committed to a plan to protect 33% of the reef.
What does 33% protection mean?
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) zoning plan was implemented in 2004. Its most significant feature is a network of marine sanctuaries that stretch from the Park's northernmost to southern boundaries. This is the world's largest network of marine sanctuaries and covers over a third of the Marine Park -
Scientists have identified 70 different distinct biological regions in the GBRMP, representing the entire range of its plants and animals. A minimum percentage of each biological region is protected from fishing in order to maintain the health and resilience of the ecosystem and to protect the full range of biodiversity in the marine park.
Source: WWF Australia