Our programs and projects

As Australia's lead managers of the Great Barrier Reef, we work with  government, industry and the community to protect this great natural wonder. Here's some of the broad range of programs and projects underway to manage and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Field management

Through the Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement, the Australian and Queensland governments have been working together for the long-term management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Out on the water, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, operate a joint field management program for the marine and island national parks, encompassing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park.

Policy and Planning Strategic Roadmap

The Policy and Planning Strategic Roadmap has been developed to focus the Authority’s efforts to deliver a proactive, contemporary and risk-based approach to Marine Park policy, planning and regulation that will protect key values and enable ecologically sustainable use for a changed and changing Reef.

The Authority’s Policy and Planning Strategic Roadmap has been prepared under five key themes: Knowledge, Risk, Traditional Owners, Tools and Resilience.

Douglas Shoal remediation

Through negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the owners and insurers of Shen Neng 1, which ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in April 2010, we were awarded $35 million to clean up the site. A project team is looking at a number of options to support the natural recovery of Douglas Shoal.

Crown-of-thorns starfish control

Our Reef Blueprint identified crown-of-thorns starfish control as one of the most feasible actions to reduce coral mortality on the Reef. A priority for us is a dedicated crown-of-thorns starfish control program to cull the coral-eating starfish and reduce the severity of outbreaks to protect live coral cover.

Reef 2050 monitoring

The Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program is a coordinated and integrated monitoring, modelling and reporting program for the Reef and its adjacent catchment will help track the progress towards targets and objectives of the Reef 2050 Plan, under the plan’s seven themes.

This will be a key input to assessing the effectiveness of the plan. It will cover all aspects of the Reef’s environment including its natural and physical attributes, heritage values and its social, economic and cultural aspects.

Tourism Industry Activation and Reef Protection Initiative

As part of the Australian Government's COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, the Tourism Industry Activation and Reef Protection Initiative will provide $3.2 million towards keeping some of the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry activated and help to conserve and protect high value tourism reef sites impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions.

This initiative will provide some business continuity within the Reef tourism industry through engaging marine tourism operators to undertake in-water conservation and monitoring activities that will ensure tourism sites are well maintained and ready to welcome guests as COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased.

Marine monitoring program

The Marine Monitoring Program was established in 2005 to monitor the health of the inshore Great Barrier Reef, including water quality, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. The program’s objective is to assess trends in ecosystem health, and resilience indicators for the Reef in relation to water quality and its linkages to end-of-catchment loads.

Eye on the Reef

Our Eye on the Reef program is a reef monitoring and assessment program that enables anyone who visits the Great Barrier Reef to contribute to its long-term protection by collecting valuable information about reef health, marine animals and incidents.

There are a number of different ways that people can take part – depending on skill levels and commitment. Everyone's contribution is welcome and people from all walks of life from day trippers, tourists, fishers, Marine Park rangers, marine tourism staff and marine scientists are encouraged to get involved and report their observations to the Marine Park Authority.

Master Reef Guides

Master Reef Guides are recognised as the world’s leading reef guides, interpreters and story tellers sharing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. On 4 February 2019 the Great Barrier Reef welcomed its first official interpreters, story tellers and ambassadors — the Master Reef Guides. These reef ambassadors can provide up to date information on the Reef, share stories of the magical World Heritage Area and explain what you can do to make a difference.

The Master Reef Guide program is delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland and is the first of its kind for the Reef.

Reef Guardians

Our Reef Guardian program recognises the good environmental work undertaken by communities and industries to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The program involves working closely with those who use and rely on the Reef, or its catchment, for recreation or business, to help build a healthier and more resilient Reef.

International Coral Reef Initiative

From mid-2018 to mid-2021 the Australian Government, through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, will co-chair the Secretariat of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in partnership with the governments of Monaco and Indonesia.

Representative Areas Program

Between 1999 and 2004, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority undertook a systematic planning and consultative program to develop new zoning for the Marine Park.

The primary aim of the program was to better protect the range of biodiversity in the Great Barrier Reef, by increasing the extent of no-take areas (or highly protected areas, locally known as ‘Green Zones’), ensuring they included 'representative' examples of all different habitat types - hence the name, the Representative Areas Program or RAP.

Whilst increasing the protection of biodiversity, a further aim was to maximise the benefits and minimise the negative impacts of the rezoning on the existing users of the Marine Park. Both these aims were achieved by a comprehensive program of scientific input, community involvement and innovation.

Regional engagement

Our regional engagement teams are working with stakeholders and communities to help build the Reef’s resilience and improve its long-term outlook. Catchment communities are highly diverse and include remote Indigenous communities, agricultural districts and large regional cities.