Member Type Country




Dr. Teena Browning
Director Strategic Policy
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
[email protected]

Thea Waters
Assistant Director World Heritage and International
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
[email protected]
[email protected]

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Australia is represented at ICRI meetings by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the Australian Government agency responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Authority has been providing world-leading marine park management since 1975 and is a strong, efficient and agile natural resource regulator entrusted by Australia with the responsibility of managing the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.

The Authority works together with other Australian and Queensland government agencies, industry, community organisations and individuals. Our vision is to achieve a healthy Great Barrier Reef for future generations.

The information provided below is for Australia as a whole (not just the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park).

Related websites:

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Australian Marine Parks
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Background Information

Surface of Coral Reefs: 48960 km2

Australia is one of the eight founding members of ICRI and a world-leader in the management, conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres.

MPA Information

MPA(s) with coral reefs: 1400000

Percentage of coral reef MPA(s) to the coastal zone or marine area: 17%

More Information: 17% does not include the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The Australian, state and territory governments have established marine parks around the country, covering 3.3 million square kilometres or 36 per cent of our oceans.

Parks Australia manages 58 Australian Marine Parks located within Commonwealth waters. Management plans set out our approach to managing marine parks. The six management plans – one for each of the five marine park networks (the North, North-west, South-west, South-east and Temperate East networks) and one for the Coral Sea, support people’s livelihoods and the Australian lifestyle.

Problems such as marine pollution, illegal fishing, climate change and invasive species can impact Australian marine parks. Parks Australia is looking after our marine parks by working in partnership with communities, scientists, other government departments and other countries.

World Heritage Sites

Sites with Coral Reefs: 3

Great Barrier Reef (listed on 30 October 1981) The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.

The Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) provides an overarching strategy for managing the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area — it coordinates actions and guides adaptive management to 2050.

Lord Howe Island (listed on 17 December 1982) A remarkable example of isolated oceanic islands, born of volcanic activity more than 2,000 m under the sea, these islands boast a spectacular topography and are home to numerous endemic species, especially birds

The Ningaloo Coast (listed on 24 June 2011) The 604,500 hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site

Shark Bay (listed in 1991) The Shark Bay region represents a meeting point of three major climatic regions. It contains plant species that are unique and considered new to science, five of Australia’s 26 species of endangered Australian mammals, as well as 35 per cent of Australian bird species and abundant marine flora and fauna.

Ramsar Sites

Sites with Coral Reefs: 9

  1. Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve (21/10/02) – 58,300 ha
  2. The Dales (21/10/02) – 583 ha
  3. Coral Sea Reserves (Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reefs and Cays) (21/10/02) – 1.7 million ha
  4. Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve (21/10/02) – 187,726 ha
  5. Great Sandy Strait (including Great Sandy Strait, Tin Can Bay, and Tin Can Inlet) (14/06/99) – 93,160 ha
  6. Pulu Keeling National Park (17/03/96) – 2,602 ha
  7. Moreton Bay (22/10/93) –  113,314 ha
  8. Hosnies Spring (11/12/90) – 202 ha
  9. Cobourg Peninsula (08/05/74) – 220,700 ha

For more information see here.

Man and the Biosphere (MAB)

Sites with Coral Reefs: 1

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Last Updated: 15 December 2023