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Direct use pressure on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Key finding

At a reef-wide scale, direct use of the region is a significant economic contributor and its impact on the Great Barrier Reef's Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) is projected to increase with population growth.

Great Barrier Reef (information applies statewide, map locations are for reference only)

The Great Barrier Reef continues to bring social and economic benefit to regional and national communities through direct use of reef resources. The future value of many uses depends on a healthy, intact ecosystem.

Fishing negatively impacts the Reef in a number of ways:

  • discarded catch
  • incidental catch of species of conservation concern
  • overfishing
  • illegal fishing.

Increasing port activities directly affect local areas; uncertainty remains around ecosystem effects of dredging and the disposal and re-suspension of dredge material.

Uses such as fishing and ports affect some attributes that contribute to the OUV of the World Heritage area.

Heritage values are affected by physical damage and pollution as a result of direct use.

Indigenous heritage values are especially vulnerable to depletions in culturally significant species and to incompatible uses in sea country areas.

Increasing regional populations and economic development will likely increase direct use and therefore the potential for impacts to both the Reef’s ecosystem and its heritage values.

More information:

Indicator: Direct use

Direct use pressure on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area as reported in the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014.

Condition dial — grade 3 (Good) on a 1–4 scale

See also: Great Barrier Reef World Heritage assessment summary.

Last updated 23 June 2020