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Onboard - Tourism Operator's Handbook for the Great Barrier Reef

Who Owns the Reef?


The simple answer to the question 'Who owns the Reef'?' is that we all do. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is responsible for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park but we can all benefit from and play a part in the protection of this multiple use Marine Park.

Who manages the Reef for you?

The GBRMPA is the principal adviser to the Commonwealth Government on the care and development of the Marine Park. Many other Commonwealth Government and Queensland State Government agencies have to care for the Reef and ensure it is protected for all people. Their responsibilities include conservation, fishing, research, customs, quarantine, marine safety and transport.

Local councils adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef also have indirect but important roles in looking after the Reef.

What about you?

Tourism operators have particular responsibilities - for your own actions and those of your clients. The best way to reach clients is through understanding the Reef's biology and management, by operating your business in a responsible manner and by achieving high standards in everything you do both on and off the Reef.

You really can inspire your clients through your own actions and by delivering a safe, entertaining and educational reef experience.

How does the community play a part?

Local coastal communities and individuals have a keen interest in the Great Barrier Reef. They provide advice and assistance to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority through Local Marine Advisory Committees and through actively participating in Marine Park initiatives such as monitoring programs.

Coastal and island Indigenous groups are playing an increasingly active role in Reef management and protection.

© Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority