Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's greatest reef system, stretching more than 2000km along Queensland's north-east coast. As the world's largest and most complex reef system, it has thousands of individual coral reefs and hundreds of continental islands, reef islands and cays, small bare sand cays, and permanent vegetated cays.
Described as the 'eighth' natural wonder of the world, the reef can be seen from the moon! It's one of the most biologically diverse systems on earth and contains habitats for a number of rare and threatened species.
Aboriginal people have a close relationship with the reef, maintaining strong cultural links with the area. The region also supports major tourism and recreation such as boating, fishing and diving as well as research, fishing industries and shipping routes.
Most of the reef is protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for managing the Reef and island national parks on the Reef. Management responsibility is shared with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
The Queensland and Australian Governments have developed the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan to protect the Reef from land-based sources of diffuse pollution. The goal of the Plan is to halt and then reverse the decline in water quality entering the Reef within 10 years.