Managing activities and use

The Great Barrier Reef has long been an important resource and a valued place for people to visit, share and enjoy.

Traditional Owners have a special relationship with the Reef that goes back thousands of years. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has also been a multiple-use area that has provided protection, ecologically sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment to local communities, industries and visitors for more than 40 years.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority considers environmental, economic and social benefits, as well as impacts, when managing these activities and pursuing the best outcomes for both the Great Barrier Reef and the community.

The Reef supports significant commercial industries, especially commercial marine tourism  and fisheries, and supports employment equal to over 54,000 full-time positions.

Shipping activity throughout the Great Barrier Reef is also a vital link in the production chain for many industries and services regional centres. Ports are important infrastructure for this shipping industry.

Oil drilling, mining and exploration have been prohibited in the Great Barrier Reef Region since proclamation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act in 1975.

Importantly, use of the Great Barrier Reef Region goes well beyond commercial activities.

It is central to the culture of Traditional Owners,  a major recreational area, an internationally important scientific resource and an important area for Defence training.

The Great Barrier Reef is valued by millions of people in Australia and around the world simply because it exists, even if they may never have the opportunity to visit it or derive an income from it.