The Great Barrier Reef is one of earth’s most beautiful and incredible natural treasures. Extending for 2,300 km along the coast of Queensland, the reef is comprised of over 2,900 reefs, and around 940 islands and cays.
The Great Barrier Reef provides a home for more than 1,500 species of fish, 134 species of sharks and rays, 411 species of hard coral, and one-third of the world’s soft corals. The reef also contains an environment which supports many threatened species, such as the dugong, and six species out of seven endangered marine turtles. It is vital to preserve the reefs to protect the habitat of these countless creatures.
Threats to the Reef
The reef is not only an amazing natural formation, attracting tourists the world over, it also plays a role in industries such as fishing. These industries are very dependent upon the health and preservation of the Great Barrier Reef.
Some of the threats facing the reef are larger threats which we as individuals have less control over, such as global warming which affects sea temperatures. Other threats are more tangible and easier to prevent, such as poor fishing practices and pollution.
Do Your Part
We can all pitch in to help protect and preserve this international wonder. At the most basic level, when visiting the reef, pay attention to all guidelines and suggestions for protecting the reef. Do not fish in restricted zones, or impact the reef in any way.
There are specific zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which have been specified for use for a variety of activities, including shipping, fishing, diving, dredging, and military training. Environmental groups believe that keeping these activities to a well-restricted minimum will be very important in reef preservation.
Another way to help protect the reef is to support eco-friendly businesses, especially those which contribute in some way to reef conservation. This not only contributes to the positive tourism industry in the reef area, but helps ensure you’re dealing with like-minded folks who care about the reef as much as you do.
You can also help with Great Barrier Reef conservation by keeping abreast of current news stories. There are often useful petitions you can sign to help keep good plans in action. If something seems to pose a threat to the reef, check out Australian conservation resources to see how you can help. Many of these organizations offer a variety of ways you can participate in reef conservation, from monetary donations to actual reef interaction. Here is a helpful list of volunteer programs which are geared toward reef conservation. Together we can protect the Great Barrier Reef for centuries to come.