Threats to the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a natural treasure and one of the world's best managed marine areas — overall, the system retains its outstanding universal value.

However our Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014 and strategic assessment found the Reef is an icon under pressure from:

In recent years, a series of major storms and floods have affected an ecosystem already under pressure. Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and marine debris are also affecting the area.

The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef Reef has good water quality and its ecosystem is in good condition.

In contrast, key habitats, species and ecosystem processes in central and southern inshore areas have continued to deteriorate from the cumulative effects of impacts.

The Reef is facing a range of threats over time, scale and duration — the accumulation of all impacts on the Reef has the potential to further weaken its resilience.

This is likely to affect its ability to recover from serious disturbance, such as major coral bleaching events, which are predicted to become more frequent in the future.

Addressing key threats

The Australian and Queensland governments' Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan provides an overarching framework for protecting the Reef.

It draws on our 25-year management plan and the findings of our Outlook Report which together provide the largest and up-to-date information on the Reef's health and management.