Australian Marine Parks


About the report

One of the largest coral reef monitoring and research project in the Coral Sea Marine Park was undertaken in partnership between Parks Australia and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

The three-year project commenced in 2018 and included annual detailed assessments of coral, fish and invertebrates and associated reef health at 120 sites on all 20 reefs across the Coral Sea Marine Park in 2018, 2019 and 2020. This report covers the findings from the research over those three years.

A key finding was that the reefs support unique coral and reef fish communities that are distinct from those of the adjacent Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and are similar to reefs in the Tasman Sea to the south, and countries to the east (New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands). 259 different species of coral and 621 different species of reef fishes were recorded, while 11 new coral species and 6 fish species were identified.

The results of this latest research into coral reef health in the Coral Sea Marine Park will inform future monitoring of this vital marine environment and ongoing management by Parks Australia.