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Researchers encouraged by cleanliness of Ningaloo Reef

Date: 18-Oct-18
Author: Patrick McCann

Spectacular oceanic manta rays are just one of the many unique species found on Ningaloo reef. Image: Swanson Chan © Swanson Chan

Spectacular oceanic manta rays are just one of the many unique species found on Ningaloo reef. Image: Swanson Chan

Local and regional efforts over the past decade have yielded highly positive results for one of Australia’s biggest coral reef ecosystems. 

Following a recent marine survey, researchers from the CSIRO revealed they found “incredibly low” amounts of debris in the ocean and on the shores of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major source of tourism for the area. 

These exciting findings are being attributed to local and regional efforts that have taken the shape of regular clean ups and low impact camping. The region has also engaged in localised efforts to reduce plastic waste, such as the nearby town of Exmouth’s replacement of plastic shopping bags with reusables, an effort that predates the upcoming state-wide ban by ten years.  

The Ningaloo Coast is well known for its biodiversity, sheltering sea turtles and hundreds of other marine and terrestrial species in its 604,500-hectare expanse. Among its best-known visitors are whale sharks, which have been observed gathering off the reef on a yearly basis in one of the largest gatherings of its kind world-wide. 

While this news is certainly exciting, Ningaloo Reef and other marine environments are still under threat by global marine pollution and climate change. It will take a great deal of leadership, innovation and behavioural and policy change to face such threats, but we are more than capable. 


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Patrick                                           McCann
Author: Patrick McCann

Patrick is a student of political science and history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States. Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, he has always felt close to nature. Wanting to gain real world experience and make positive environmental change, he has joined us for the winter as an intern.

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