People are a part of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Today, management of the Reef requires more than a comprehensive understanding of the biophysical pressures, ecosystem states and responses. Understanding the human dimension of the Reef is essential for long-term planning, and for adaptive management.

The Social and Economic Long-Term Monitoring Progam (SELTMP) provides information on the human dimension of the Reef by conducting large-scale surveys of Reef user groups.  In 2013 over 8,300 people were surveyed. In 2017, we surveyed nearly 4,000 local residents, Australians, commercial fishers, marine-based tourism operators and tourists.  To implement resilience-based management in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), it is crucial to maintain and improve the collection of social and economic data for priority indicators that describe the critical interdependencies between social-economic condition of communities and industries in the Reef and the condition of the Reef’s ecosystems. The current proposed program of work builds on, and strengthens, previous GBR-wide human dimensions (HD) monitoring conducted in 2013 and 2017. 

We ask questions about resource dependency, use, well-being, values, aspirations, stewardship, capacity, satisfaction, understanding, perceptions of management, networks and economic viability.

The 2017 SELTMP program was jointly funded by CSIRO, and the Australian and Queensland governments as part of the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program.

SELTMP was established in 2011 with funding provided by the Australian Government under the National Environment Research Program (NERP), CSIRO, James Cook University, and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Currently SELTMP is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and CSIRO.

Research user focus

More than 100 people, representing multiple government agencies, community groups and industries in the GBR region have contributed expert knowledge and ideas towards the objectives and design of SELTMP. The program includes advice from state and Australian Government agencies, conservation planners/managers, industry bodies, local communities and others. These groups include the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Department of Premiers and Cabinet, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tourism Queensland and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Why this research is needed

Long-term social and economic monitoring helps reef managers understand the current status, historical trends and possible future trajectories of marine park users, industries and communities. It also helps build a picture of how industries and communities are likely to respond and cope with changes associated with environmental degradation, climate change, regulatory frameworks, and changes in culture. It can also assist in evaluating the effectiveness of management interventions.

Core objectives of SELTMP

  1. Socio-economic monitoring continuity, to provide data for Reef 2050 Plan human dimensions (HD) targets and objectives.
  2. Operationalisation of priority HD indicators and monitoring activity identified in RIMReP.
  3. HD information to support emerging decision-support system functions for understanding the Reef as a social-ecological system.

How to cite data obtained from this website

If you would like to cite any data from this site, please use the following reference:

Marshall, N.A. Curnock, M., Pert, P.L., Williams, G. (2018) The Social and Economic Long Term Monitoring Program (SELTMP) for the Great Barrier Reef . Final Report. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.  Townsville, Australia (220pp.).  Download report here


Australian tourists in the Great Barrier Reef region – factsheet  Download here

International tourists in the Great Barrier Reef region – factsheet Download here

Commercial Fishers in the Great Barrier Reef – factsheet Download here