Australia’s Great Barrier Reef : UNESCO Heritage Committee Concern
A UNESCO heritage committee recently stopped short of listing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as a site that is “in danger” but warned the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem remained under “serious threat” from pollution and the warming of oceans.
- Great Barrier Reef lies in the Pacific Ocean off the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea.
- It is the longest and largest coral reef system in the world.
- It extends in roughly a northwest-southeast direction for more than 2,000 km, at an offshore distance ranging from 16 to 160 km, and its width ranges from 60 to 250 km.
- It has an area of some 350,000 square km.
- It is composed of over 2,500 individual reefs of varying sizes and shapes and over 900 islands.
- It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
- Much of the Great Barrier Reef is a marine protected area, managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority of Australia.
- It is estimated that the reef is home to around 1,500 species of fish and around 600 different coral species.
- Corals are marine invertebrate animals that belong to the phylum Cnidaria.