Fight for the Reef

Our leaders have a legal and moral responsibility to protect the Great Barrier Reef and together we will hold them to it.


Our beautiful Great Barrier Reef is one of the worlds most biologically diverse ecosystems home to turtles, corals and clownfish like Nemo. But its future is threatened by mining giant Adani, colossal new coal mines, carbon pollution and creeping industrialisation. Australia must embrace renewable energy and save our reef. Home to swirling fish, colourful corals and ancient sea turtles, our magnificent Great Barrier Reef is vital to the health of Australia’s oceans. The Reef is part of our world heritage and its beauty lifts our spirits. Spanning 2,300 kms along the Queensland coast, it can even be seen from space.

But our Great Barrier Reef’s future is threatened. The mining and burning of coal and gas is heating our planet and cooking our oceans, causing devastating mass coral bleaching. After an unprecedented three mass coral bleaching in just five years, climate change is here and now for the lives and livelihoods our Reef supports. Our Reef is still beautiful but we need urgent action on climate change to give it the best chance for the future. This means we cannot let giant mining corporations like Adani and Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal dig for new coal right in our backyard.

Simultaneously, water pollution is damaging our Reef. Chemicals and sediment from land-based activities flows into waterways after rainfall and this pollution finds it way into Reef waters. Poor land-use practices like land clearing and the overuse of fertilisers causes an increase in sediment and nutrients in the Reef waters which can result in algal blooms, a buildup of pollutants and sediment and reduce light and smother seagrasses and corals.. We need to restore our Reef inshore waterways and limit the amount of chemicals like pesticide and fertilizer used on the land. A win-win for landowners and our Reef.

Our Reef’s ecosystem is also feeling the pressures of commercial and recreational fishing. The removal of top predators like sharks, can throw the delicate ecosystem out of balance. Many people are not aware that damaging fishing practices like gillnet and trawl fisheries operate in our Reef. These fisheries can impact fragile habitats and are responsible for the bycatch of endangered species. Massive gillnets are indiscriminate killers of iconic threatened species like dugongs, turtles, sawfish and dolphins.

Our Reef is feeling the pressure. But we know what we need to do. Together, we can call on our leaders and corporations to:
– Move away from dirty fossil fuels
– Clean up pollution that starts on the land then flows into our waters
– And create a fishing industry that doesn’t exploit our precious marine life.

Thousands of people are already taking action to Fight For Our Reef by writing to leaders, businesses and attending our community events. If we are loud – they will listen. Our leaders have a legal and moral responsibility to protect our Reef and together we will hold them to it.

Our Reef
In May 2018, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) signed a formal Declaration demanding strong climate policies to protect the future of our Reef. The Declaration was signed by AMPTO members at a summit in Cairns hosted jointly with the Australian Marine Conservation Society. We continue to Fight for our Reef at the global level, representing the Great Barrier Reef at the World Heritage Committee and speaking up about the threats to its future, especially from climate change. In 2017 we delivered 50,000 signatures to the World Heritage Committee, which then called on all countries to make ambitious reductions in carbon pollution to save the world’s coral reefs.

Over the last four years, divestment pressure has meant bank after bank has pulled out of deals to fund the Adani mine. Now 28 financial institutions have ruled out investing in Adani, including Westpac, Commbank and four of the world’s biggest banks. We stopped proposed coal port developments near the mouth of the pristine Fitzroy River south of Rockhampton and in the untouched region of Cape York in Far North Queensland. These fragile places are home to rare and unique sea life like snubfin dolphins and dugongs. Their homes were saved thanks to ocean lovers speaking out in their defence. In September 2019, after a long community campaign, the Queensland Government passed new water quality laws to clean up sediment and chemical pollution flowing into our Great Barrier Reef. This gives our Reef a fighting chance for the future.After years of campaigning, the Queensland Government developed the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy in 2017. As part of this strategy, fisheries management is set to be modernised and fish stocks returned to healthy levels. In 2020 we also celebrated an end to a loophole that allowed sharks to be finned on the Reef.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Group's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

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Lead Group: Australian Marine Conservation Society World Wide Fund for Nature


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