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Reef in Brief E-Newsletter header with envelope including an aerial reef image and the Australian Governmnent logo
Reef in Brief - March 2013
Divers injecting crown-of-thorns starfish
Control program culls more than 60,000 crown-of-thorns starfish
More than 60,000 crown-of-thorns starfish have been culled so far as part of efforts to protect coral on some of the most popular tourism sites on the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Government’s $2.2 million control program began in August last year in response to increased sightings of the coral-eating pest, mainly between Cairns and Lizard Island.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Schultz
Trawl nets
New study finds low risks from trawl fishing
Substantial progress has been made in reducing risks from trawling in the Great Barrier Reef Region, according to a new ecological risk assessment of the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery. Measures like the mandatory use of turtle excluder devices in the last decade have greatly reduced the incidental catch of loggerhead turtles and other large animals such as sharks. However, additional actions may be needed as high risks still remain for some species of skates, rays and sea snakes.
baby leopard shark
New baby leopard sharks
Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville has welcomed the arrival of its first baby leopard shark of the season. The leopard sharks are donated to zoos and aquariums around the world — allowing them to reduce their dependence and impact on wild stocks.
three photos of the Dent Island Lightstation
Protecting island heritage
The Dent Island Lightstation, built in 1879, is the subject of a new plan to ensure it’s preserved as an important part of Australia’s maritime past. Placed on the Commonwealth Heritage List in 2004, the lightstation is located in the Whitsundays. A new heritage management plan is now out for public comment. Photos courtesy of Peter Marquis-Kyle
Reef HQ's new turtle ambulance
New wheels for sick turtles
A new turtle ambulance has hit the road to help out stranded marine turtles. A big thank you to Townsville’s Carmichael Ford for donating a new Ford PX Ranger Dual Cab to Reef HQ Aquarium’s turtle hospital.
Photo of Ocean Rafting's boat
High standard tourism operator takes out national title
Congratulations to High Standard Tourism Operators Ocean Rafting for winning gold at the Australian Tourism Awards. Ocean Rafting is a leader in responding to climate change and looking after the Reef with continued investment in emission-cutting technology.
A close up shot of a person wearing snow shoes
Snow shoes on the Reef
Marine park rangers and volunteers from WildMOB and the Australasian Seabird Group have taken a creative approach to seabird counts by wearing snow shoes during their survey of the Capricorn Bunker island group. The shoes help spread the weight and reduce the risk of nesting burrows collapsing. It’s the first population survey of nesting wedge-tailed shearwaters and black noddies since 2000.
Photo of zoning maps
Where can I go fishing?
Heading out to the Reef over the Easter break? Don’t forget to get your free zoning map by dropping into your local bait and tackle shop, visitor information centre or ship chandlers, by visiting our website or calling us on 1800 990 177.
Students from Kirwan High School and their teacher
Ripples of change across Reef Guardian Schools
Twenty Reef Guardian Schools have received Ripples of Change Awards to help their students make positive environmental changes. The winners receive grants to help them implement a range of initiatives, such as recycling programs and regenerating native habitats.
Sharing news from the Reef
Through Reef in Brief, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority provides important news, information and events from across the Great Barrier Reef. Please let us know what issues are important to you, what interests you most about the Reef, and what you want to read about. Email

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is the Australian Government agency responsible for managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so it's protected for the future. Management is guided by Australian Government policies and legislation including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, as well as through engagement with scientific experts, industry and the community.

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