Queensland is home to more species of marine wildlife than any other Australian state. These tropical and subtropical waters are unique and include spectacular habitats like internationally protected wetlands, pristine islands and bays, amazing coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and of the ‘kidneys of our coasts’ – mangroves and salt marshes.
Queensland’s World-Class Marine Heritage
Stretching thousands of kilometres from east to west, and north to south – from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Moreton Bay – Queensland is home to many spectacular, world class marine parks across a variety of marine ecosystems.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Queensland is home to the 2,300 km long Great Barrier Reef – the planet’s largest living structure. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, this treasure is home to a breath-taking array of marine life including 600 types of soft and hard corals, 1,625 species of fish, 133 types of sharks and rays and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.
Despite this significant marine park, our precious Great Barrier Reef is in peril. Ocean warming is bleaching its coral. Climate change and encroaching industrialisation threaten its future.
The Coral Sea Marine Park (Federal waters)
The Coral Sea is the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef. The Coral Sea is Australia’s largest marine park and includes nearly 1 million square kilometres of clear tropical water. It is one of the healthiest tropical marine ecosystems left in our global oceans. From thickly forested islands to small sandy cays, beautiful coral reefs and deep sea canyons; the Coral Sea contains 49 different habitats and supports over 300 threatened species.
Moreton Bay Marine Park
Southeast Queensland’s Moreton Bay is a beautiful tapestry of islands, beaches, corals, rocky reefs and seagrass meadows, all on the doorstep of Brisbane City. Home to a huge array of species, it is the only place in the world where significant populations of dugongs and sea turtles can still be found close to a major metropolitan centre.
Great Sandy Marine Park
The Great Sandy Marine Park encompasses Hervey Bay, Great Sandy Strait, Tin Can Inlet and the waters off the east coast of K’gari (Fraser) Islands. This outstanding natural environment is home to many threatened species, including whales, dolphins, dugongs, grey nurse sharks, turtles and significant populations of migratory seabirds. Hervey Bay is a major transit point for humpback whales on their annual migration, and the beaches of the Woongarra coast are home to the most significant nesting population of endangered loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific.
Visitors from around the world are drawn to the natural beauty of the Park. Fishing and wildlife tours generate jobs, support local businesses and contribute to the economy, but the current level of protection provided by the Park is failing to ensure their future. The new draft zoning plan for the Great Sandy Marine Park is five years overdue.