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When the managers of the Great Barrier Reef recently rated its outlook as very poor, a few well-known threats dominated the headlines. But delve deeper into the report and you'll find that this global icon is threatened by a whopping 45 risks.
The most publicized main threats relate to climate change and poor water quality, and are unquestionably the most damaging.
Threats - Great - Barrier - Reef - Death
However, many of the 45 threats are not well known or understood. All but two are happening now—and most are steadily getting worse. Collectively, it means the Great Barrier Reef is heading for a "death by a thousand cuts."
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority produced the 2019 Outlook Report, required by law every five years. It shows the total number of threats has increased from 41 in 2014 to 45 now.
Click - Authority - List - Threats
Click here for the authority's list of all 45 threats.
All of these threaten the Great Barrier Reef's World Heritage values—the factors that make it globally outstanding. Of the 45 threats, 42 threaten its remarkable ecosystem.
Threats - Loss - Knowledge - Indigenous - Owners
The new threats include the loss of cultural knowledge, especially by the Indigenous traditional owners, and the potential negative impacts of genetic modification which are not well understood but could occur when modified organisms are released into the wild.
The table below shows the most alarming 21 risks to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. It is becoming clear that many of the risks are serious, and the situation is getting worse.
Click - Table - Data
Click here for a table displaying the data in full.
The likelihood and consequences of many lesser known threats are increasing.
Ten - Risks - Concern
The ten threats leading to "very high" risks are of greatest concern, especially as all are considered "almost certain" to occur. They include:
The modification of coastal habitats from continued urban and industrial development. Vegetation clearing damages important ecosystem services for many marine species.
Illegal - Fishing - Poaching
Illegal fishing and poaching elsewhere are...
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