Australia's most remarkable natural gifts - The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and pulling away from it, and viewing it from a greater distance, you can understand why. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, roughly parallel to the coast of Queensland, Australia, for almost 2,000km. Australia has almost 1/5th of the world's reef area and most is located in the GBR.
Washed by the warm waters of the South-West Pacific Ocean the perfect environment is created for the world's largest system of coral reefs. The Great Barrier Reed is of such pristine condition that it was listed by the World Heritage Trust on 26th October 1981 as a protected site and is therefore managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority to ensure that its beauty is maintained for many generations to come.
The earliest instance of organised tourism on the Great Barrier Reef was in the 1890s when Green Island became a destination for pleasure cruises offshore of Cairns. By the 1930s tourist resorts had begun to develop at Green Island off Cairns and at Heron Island further south. During the first half of the 20th century, most tourist activity was inshore and close to regional centres, being limited by boating technology and sub standard transport links to southern capitals.
Now the largest commercial activity in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has generating over $1b per annum, the marine tourism industry is a major contributor to the local and Australian economies.
Protected Species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park:
It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.
The species list of Protected Species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park include: helmet shells, triton shells, tridacnid clams, seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons, potato cod, Queensland grouper, barramundi cod, Maori wrasse, all groupers (Epinephelus) more than 100cm, whale shark, grey nurse shark, great white shark, freshwater and green sawfish, Sea snakes ,Crocodiles, turtles, birds, seals, whales, dolphins and dugongs.
Dangers Animal or fish in Great Barrier Reef area:
Blue Ring Octopus-
1. Hapelochlaena Lunulata - which is the larger and grows up to 20cm (8 in) across its stretched tentacles.
2. Hapalochlaena Maculosa - it is small and more common, weighing a mere 28 grams (1 oz). They are found in the shallow coral and rock pools of Australia.
1. Box Jellyfish - possible one of the most dangerous creatures on the reef. The box jellyfish gets its name from the shape of its body. A box-shaped bell with clusters of tentacles extending from each corner. It has the potential to inflict fatal stings to humans. Found mainly around river mouths and muddy shadow water, they rarely inhabit the reef islands. "Stinger Season" is from November through to March. (To Movie "7 pounds" , Tim Thomas (Will Smith) suicide with box jellyfish in an icy water.)
2. Irukandji Jellyfish- Unlike Box Jelly Fish, Irukandji are found mostly in the deeper waters of the reef, although they may be swept inshore by prevailing currents. Divers and snorkellers are particularly at risk.
Shells 1. Cone shells - it look very pretty, but several types are known to be very dangerous to humans. The venom of some contains the most potent neurotoxins known to man.
1. Lion fish- Lion fish have venomous fin spines that can produce painful puncture wounds. Fatalities, however, are rare. The fish have elongated dorsal fin spines and enlarged pectoral fins, and each species has a pattern of zebra like stripes.
2. Stone fish - With 13 dorsal spines that release a poisonous toxin when pressed, the Stone fish can inflict excruciating pain and possible death to the unwary. They dwell on stony, muddy bottom areas. Visitors walking on the beaches (especially at low tide) should always wear covered shoes with a sturdy sole.
3. Stingray - fatalities reported from stingray deaths are few and far between. Barbs on the stingrays' tail whip up when trodden on and can inflict serious lacerations and deep wounds. Tetanus is also a possibility if the wound becomes infected.
Approx 15 species of sea snakes can be found on the reef. ALL OF THEM PRODUCE LETHAL VENOM. Having small fangs, they are not normally aggressive. There have been no reported deaths from sea snakes, however they should still be treated with respect.
Here Some nice view of The Great Barrier Reef: