Coral Sea Reserves

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Coral Sea Reserves

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    1,728,920 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    16°52'S 149°49'E
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Coral Sea Reserves (Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reefs and Cays). 21/10/02; Coral Sea Islands Territory; 1,728,920 ha; 149°49'E 16°52'S. Nature Reserves. The site is located in the Coral Sea, with its centre some 440km east of Cairns, Queensland and 300km north-east of the Great Barrier Reef. It comprises near-pristine oceanic islet and reef habitats that are representative of the Coral Sea. The undisturbed sandy habitat provided by several islets is used for nesting by the globally endangered Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), while their forest and shrubland support important breeding populations of terns, boobies, tropicbirds and other seabirds. Coral reef habitat within the site supports a distinct community of marine benthic flora and fauna, a relatively rich diversity of decapod crustacean and hydroid fauna, and significant feeding habitat for migratory shorebirds and seabirds. Marine algal communities are a particularly important feature, frequently covering a greater area than the corals. A large number of shipwrecks lend the site marine archaeological significance. In the absence of human residents, the site is used for nature conservation and scientific research, with recreational diving limited to the ten commercial tours of up to 30 passengers each permitted per year, and small numbers who arrive by private yacht. The surrounding area supports commercial fisheries, while dive and fishing-based tourism is again limited, due to the distance from centres of human population. A management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1222. Most recent RIS information: 2014.

Administrative region: 
Coral Sea Islands Territory

  • National legal designation: 
    • National Natural Reserve - Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reef
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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