Apart from the fact that it’s just plain unsightly and can be a navigational hazard, litter is also a significant danger to wildlife. Turtles, dolphins and whales have died after mistaking floating plastic bags for food and eating them. Fish, birds and marine mammals often become entangled in fishing debris. Litter and debris on nesting beaches can interfere with a turtle’s ability to scoop out an egg chamber and deposit eggs and may even prevent hatchlings from reaching the sea.
Please continue to help keep the Marine Park beautiful and safe by observing these very simple, yet incredibly important, practices.
Responsible Reef Practices
- Do not throw rubbish (such as food scraps, plastic, paper, fishing gear, and cigarette butts) overboard – take it back to shore for proper disposal.
- Secure all loose articles, clothing and towels on the deck, to prevent them blowing off or accidentally falling overboard.
- Have plenty of properly secured rubbish bins and garbage bags on vessels and encourage their use.
- Do not overfill bins and make sure lids are securely fastened so they don’t fly off.
- Make it easy for clients to properly dispose of cigarette butts.
- Retrieve everything accidentally dropped overboard.
- Retrieve all entangled fishing gear, where possible.
- Collect all litter from the water and the Marine Park whenever you see it.
- Do not throw travel sick bags over the side of the vessel – this is illegal.
- Use reusable or biodegradable products (for example, washable crockery and cloth napkins), where feasible.
- Minimise packaging and pre-packaged food.
- Include anti-littering messages in interpretation programs.
- Please report marine pollution including illegal discharges of rubbish and waste.
Marine Parks Legal Requirements
- You must not litter or discharge garbage (including plastics, fishing nets and lines) within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or on island National Parks or surrounding beaches.
If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.
We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef