A chain of coral reefs nearly 2010 kilometres long in the Coral Sea, off the north‐eastern coast of Australia. This unique environment is the world's largest coral reef system, and it appears on the Unesco World Heritage List. The reef is economically important to the state of Queensland and the country of Australia, because it supports significant tourism and fishing industries. Since the early 1960s the reef has suffered extensive damage, much of it caused by humans through intensive recreational use, shipping accidents, runoff from the mainland (which increases turbidity, reduces salinity, and introduces some pollutants), and climate change (via sea level rise, ocean warming, and increased air temperatures). The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has been established to preserve the reef in perpetuity, and a comprehensive programme of water quality management within the park is designed to protect the reef and the industries that depend on it.
Subjects: Environmental Science.