Helping put the Great Barrier Reef on the road to recovery

By CSIRO

22 January 2018

2 minute read

Tourists looking at the Great Barrier Reef from a boat

The Great Barrier Reef is an iconic part of Australia. Credit: Matt Curnock

We often hear the same depressing story about the Great Barrier Reef: Australia’s iconic living structure is struggling to cope with a plethora of problems. Deteriorating water quality, rising water temperatures and ocean acidification, and consecutive bleaching events all have their detrimental impacts on the Reef.

Despite these multiple large-scale and complex problems, many areas of the Great Barrier Reef still show resilience, which presents a window of opportunity to act.

The Hon. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announced a $60 million package of measures to address the challenges that face the Reef. The range of activities includes $6 million for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, ourselves and partners to scope and design a Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP). This program will assess and develop existing and novel technologies to assist the recovery and repair of the Reef.

Dr Peter Mayfield, our Executive Director for Environment, Energy And Resources, said the magnitude of challenges facing the Reef means it cannot be addressed by one organisation alone.

“The RRAP will provide a unique opportunity to harness our collective knowledge and expertise across the entire research and science sector,” Dr Mayfield said.

“We’re delighted be working alongside our many partner institutions to help deliver material solutions for the Reef.”

Bringing together the best

The nature of the environmental challenge facing the Reef demands the best scientific minds across a range of Australian universities, research institutions, park managers and charities. These include the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and researchers from many other organisations.

We have a long history of working together with AIMS and the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program takes this historical collaboration to a new level, involving many more national and international partners.

Global solutions

Coral reefs around the world support 25 per cent of all marine life and provide essential goods and services to an estimated one billion people. The solutions we uncover through this program could be used to help save reefs around the world.