Risks to the Region’s values
Management arrangements are reducing some lower risk threats; examples include the continued strong management of direct uses such as commercial marine tourism and improvements in the management of shipping activities in the Region. The planning, inputs and processes associated with managing land-based run-off have improved and over time risk is expected to decrease somewhat as a result. Other activities, in particular coastal development and the remaining impacts of fishing, are still assessed as high risk and desired management outcomes are not being achieved. The most serious threats are from climate change, land-based run-off, coastal development and some aspects of direct use such as illegal fishing and poaching and the incidental take of species of conservation concern. These threats have the potential to work in combination to weaken the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem and therefore its ability to recover from serious disturbances (such as major coral bleaching events) that will become more frequent in the future. An increased understanding of the cumulative effects of threats has highlighted the need for a management approach that takes into account all threats affecting an area and for a combination of Reef-wide, regional and local solutions. While climate change will affect all parts of the Great Barrier Reef, the compounding effects of other threats means that inshore environments next to developed areas are most at risk.