The Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef, extending across 300 kilometres of coastline. This spectacular area is a global biodiversity hotspot, a premier tourist destination attracting international visitors, home to the three communities of Carnarvon, Exmouth and Coral Bay, and a key service point for oil and gas development and exploration. Conservation and management of the reef given these multiple uses depends on quality science and integrated decision making.
Its also a Marine Protected Area…
The Ningaloo Marine Park was established in 1987 by the State and Commonwealth Governments and extended in 2004 to cover the entire reef. The reef provides habitat for more than 500 fish, 250 coral and 600 mollusc species, as well as whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and dugong.
The use and future management of the Ningaloo region raise continuing challenges because of the involvement of multiple tiers of government, industry, a passionate local and visitor community and potentially worldwide attention with its recent nomination for World Heritage Listing. Decisions about its management must be based on strong science with practical application to balance the social, economic and environmental interests in the area.
To increase the ecological understanding of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area’s deep and shallow reefs and the reef’s shark and turtle populations, BHP and CSIRO have formed a strategic marine research partnership, Ningaloo Outlook. This Industry-Science Research Partnership is investing $5.4 million over five years to gather new knowledge on the reef and its important ecological values.