Coral Sea

The Coral Sea (French: Mer de Corail) is a marginal sea of the South Pacific off the northeast coast of Australia, and classified as an interim Australian bioregion. The Coral Sea extends 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) down the Australian northeast coast.

It is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queensland, thereby including the Great Barrier Reef, in the east by Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) and by New Caledonia, and in the northeast approximately by the southern extremity of the Solomon Islands. In the northwest, it reaches to the south coast of eastern New Guinea, thereby including the Gulf of Papua. It merges with the Tasman Sea in the south, with the Solomon Sea in the north and with the Pacific Ocean in the east. On the west, it is bounded by the mainland coast of Queensland, and in the northwest, it connects with the Arafura Sea through the Torres Strait.[2]

The sea is characterised by its warm and stable climate, with frequent rains and tropical cyclones. It contains numerous islands and reefs, as well as the world's largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981. All previous oil exploration projects were terminated at the GBR in 1975, and fishing is restricted in many areas. The reefs and islands of the Coral Sea are particularly rich in birds and aquatic life and are a popular tourist destination, both nationally and internationally.

Coral Sea
Coral Sea map
Coordinates18°S 158°E / 18°S 158°ECoordinates: 18°S 158°E / 18°S 158°E
Basin countriesAustralia, New Caledonia (France), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu
Surface area4,791,000 km2 (1,850,000 sq mi)
Average depth2,394 m (7,854 ft)
Max. depth9,140 m (29,990 ft)
Water volume11,470,000 km3 (9.30×1012 acre⋅ft)


Coral Sea Islands
A map of the Coral Sea Islands

While the Great Barrier Reef with its islands and cays belong to Queensland, most reefs and islets east of it are part of the Coral Sea Islands Territory. In addition, some islands west of and belonging to New Caledonia are also part of the Coral Sea Islands in a geographical sense, such as the Chesterfield Islands and Bellona Reefs.

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Coral Sea as follows:[3]

On the North. The South coast of New Guinea from the entrance to the Bensbach River (141°01'E) to Gadogadoa Island near its Southeastern extreme (10°38′S 150°34′E / 10.633°S 150.567°E), down this meridian to the 100 fathom line and thence along the Southern edges of Uluma Reef and those extending to the Eastward as far as the Southeast point of Lawik Reef (11°43.5′S 153°56.5′E / 11.7250°S 153.9417°E) off Tagula Island, thence a line to the Southern extreme of Rennell Island (Solomon Islands) and from its Eastern point to Cape Surville, the Eastern extreme of San Cristobal Island [Makira], Solomons; thence through Nupani Island, the Northwestern of the Santa Cruz Islands (10°04.5′S 165°40.5′E / 10.0750°S 165.6750°E) to the Northernmost Island of the Duff Islands (9°48.5′S 167°06′E / 9.8083°S 167.100°E).

On the Northeast. From the Northernmost island of the Duff Islands, through these islands to their Southeastern extreme, thence a line to Méré Lava, Vanuatu Islands(14°25′S 163°03′E / 14.417°S 163.050°E) and down the Eastern coasts of the islands of this Group to Anatom Island (20°11′S 169°51′E / 20.183°S 169.850°E) in such a way that all the islands of these Groups, and the straits separating them, are included in the Coral Sea.

On the Southeast. A line from the Southeastern extreme of Anatom Island to Nokanhoui (reefs) (22°46′S 167°34′E / 22.767°S 167.567°E) off the Southeast extreme of New Caledonia, thence through the East point of Middleton Reef to the Eastern extreme of Elizabeth Reef (29°55′S 159°02′E / 29.917°S 159.033°E) and down this meridian to Latitude 30° South.

On the South. The parallel of 30° South to the Australian coast.

On the West. The Eastern limit of the Arafura Sea [The entrance to the Bensbak River (141°01'E), and thence a line to the Northwest extreme of York Peninsula, Australia (11°05′S 142°03′E / 11.083°S 142.050°E)] and the East Coast of Australia as far south as Latitude 30° South.


The Coral Sea basin was formed between 58 million and 48 million years ago when the Queensland continental shelf was uplifted, forming the Great Dividing Range, and continental blocks subsided at the same time.[4] The sea has been an important source of coral for the Great Barrier Reef, both during its formation and after sea level lowering.[5]

The geological formation processes are still proceeding, as partly evidenced by the seismic activity. Several hundred earthquakes with the magnitude between 2 and 6 were recorded in the period 1866–2000 along the Queensland coast and in the Coral Sea.[6] On 2 April 2007, the Solomon Islands were struck by a major earthquake followed by a several metres tall tsunami. The epicentre of this magnitude 8.1 earthquake was 349 km (217 mi) northwest of Honiara, at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi).[7] It was followed by more than 44 aftershocks of a magnitude 5.0 or greater. The resulting tsunami killed at least 52 people and destroyed more than 900 homes.[8]

The sea received its name because of its numerous coral formations. They include the GBR, which extends about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) along the northeast coast of Australia and includes approximately 2,900 individual reefs[9] and 1000 islands.[10] The Chesterfield Islands and Lihou Reef are the largest atolls of the Coral Sea.


East Australian Current
Thermal profile of the East Australian Current

Major Coral Sea currents form a counter-clockwise gyro which includes the East Australian Current. It brings warm nutrient-poor waters from the Coral Sea down the east coast of Australia to the cool waters of the Tasman Sea. This current is the strongest along the Australian coasts and transforms 30 million m3/s of water within a flow band of about 100 kilometres wide and 500 metres deep. The current is strongest around February and weakest around August.[11]

The major river flowing into the sea is the Burdekin River, which has its delta southeast of Townsville. Owing to the seasonal and annual variations in occurrence of cyclones and in precipitation (typically between 200 and 1600 mm/year), its annual discharge can vary more than 10 times between the two succeeding years. In particular, in the period 1920–1999, the average flow rate near the delta was below 1000 m3/s in 1923, 1931, 1939, 1969, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1993 and 1995; it was above 25,000 m3/s in 1927, 1940, 1946, 1950, 1951, 1959, 1968, 1972, 1974 and 1991, and reached about 40,000 m3/s in 1946.[12] This irregularity results in concomitant fluctuations of the sea water composition near the river delta.

The surface water temperature varies on the south of the sea from 19 °C in August to 24 °C in February. It is rather warm and stable at 27–28 °С in the north all through the year. Water salinity is 34.5–35.5‰ (parts per thousand).[1] The water is mostly very clear, with the visibility of about 30 metres (100 ft) near the reefs.[9]


Cyclone Larry 19 mar 2006 0025Z
Tropical Cyclone Larry over the Great Barrier Reef, 19 March 2006

The sea has a subtropical climate and is frequently hit by tropical cyclones, especially between January and April.[2] This range extends to November–May in the areas south to 10°S. Between 1969 and 1997, the GBR experienced 80 cyclones, 90% which were of category 1 or 2 (winds 17–33 m/s, central pressure 970–1000 hPa) and only 10% of category 3 (winds >33 m/s, pressure <970 hPa). The cyclone frequency decreased between 1997 and 2005 to 1.5 per year (12 in total).[13]

Annual rainfall typically ranges between 1,000 and 3,000 mm depending on the area. Most rains fall between December and March, in bursts of 30–60 days.[13] The number of clear days per year varies approximately between 80 and 125, and the typical temperature variation through the year are 18–27 °C.[14]

Climate change made it 175 times more likely that the surface waters of the Coral Sea would reach the record-breaking temperatures March 2016 that bleached reefs, modeling analysis showed.[15]


Winds in the Coral Sea can be classified by season, longitude and latitude. Southeasterly trade winds dominate through all sea areas and all seasons, especially between 20°S and 25°S, west of the meridian of 155°E. However, between September and December they change to northerly and northwesterly winds in this region, and the direction is mostly southwestern in May–August. West of 155°E, gales are common between January and August and are less frequent in September–December.[16]

In January, the northwest monsoon may occur between the parallels of 15°S and 20°S, west of the 150°E meridian. Gales are rare in this region most of the year except for June–August, when strong southeasterly winds occur a few days per month.[16]

The southeasterly trades are also strong north of 15°S between March and November. They weaken and often change to westerly winds in December and to northerly and northwesterly winds in January and February.[16]


The Australian shore of the Coral Sea is mostly composed of sand. The GBR is too far away to provide significant coral deposits, but it effectively screens the coast from the ocean waves. As a result, most land vegetation spreads down to the sea,[17] and the coastal waters are rich in underwater vegetation, such as green algae.[18] The most common genera of seagrasses are Halophila and Halodule.[19]

The islands of the GBR contain more than 2,000 plant species, and three of these are endemic. The northern islands have 300–350 plant species which tend to be woody, whereas the southern islands have 200 which are more herbaceous; the Whitsunday region is the most diverse, supporting 1,141 species. The plants are spread by birds.[20]


Coral Outcrop Flynn Reef
Corals on Flynn Reef near Cairns
Crown of Thorns-jonhanson
Crown-of-thorns starfish
Christmas Tree Worm
Christmas Tree Worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) in Porites coral. Admiralty, Osprey Reef
Laticauda colubrina (Wakatobi)
A banded sea krait Laticauda colubrina

The sea hosts numerous species of anemones, sponges, worms (e.g. Spirobranchus giganteus shown in the photograph), gastropods, lobsters, crayfish, prawns and crabs. Red algae Lithothamnion and Porolithon colour many coral reefs purple-red and the green alga Halimeda is found throughout the sea. The coastal plants consisting of only about 30–40 species, and mangroves occur in the northern part of the sea.[9] Four hundred coral species, both hard corals and soft corals inhabit the reefs.[21] The majority of these spawn gametes, breeding in mass spawning events that are triggered by the rising sea temperatures of spring and summer, the lunar cycle, and the diurnal cycle. Reefs in the inner GBR spawn during the week after the full moon in October, while the outer reefs spawn in November and December.[22] Its common soft corals belong to 36 genera.[23] There are more than 1500 fish species in the reef systems.[24] Five hundred species of marine algae or seaweed live on the reef,[21] including thirteen species of the genus Halimeda, which deposit calcareous mounds up to 100 metres (110 yd) wide, creating mini-ecosystems on their surface which have been compared to rainforest cover.[25]

Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) is the major predator of the reefs, as it preys upon coral polyps by climbing onto them, extruding its stomach over them, and releasing digestive enzymes to absorb the liquefied tissue. An individual adult can eat up to 6 m2 of reef per year.[26] In 2000, an outbreak[27] of crown-of-thorns starfish contributed to a loss of 66% of live coral cover on sampled reefs.[28] Changes in water quality and overfishing of natural predators, such as the Giant Triton, may have contributed to an increase in the number of crown-of-thorns starfish.[29]

There are at least 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, including the dwarf minke whale, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, humpback whale and dugongs.[21][30][31] Six species of sea turtles breed on the GBR – the green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, flatback turtle and the Olive Ridley.[32]

More than 200 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit, nest or roost on the islands and reefs,[33] including the white-bellied sea eagle and roseate tern.[21] Most nesting sites are on islands in the northern and southern regions of the GBR, with 1.4–1.7 million birds using the sites to breed.[34][35]

Seventeen species of sea snake, including Laticauda colubrina[36] (pictured), live on the GBR in warm waters up to 50 metres (160 ft) deep and are more common in the southern than in the northern section; none of them are endemic or endangered.[37] The venom of many of these snakes is highly toxic; for example, Aipysurus duboisii is regarded as the world's most venomous sea snake.[38][39][40]

There are more than 1,500 fish species, including the clownfish (Amphiprioninae), red bass (Lutjanus bohar), red-throat emperor (Lethrinus miniatus), coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) and several species of snapper (Lutjanidae).[21] Forty-nine species mass spawn and eighty-four other species spawn elsewhere in their range.[41] With a maximum total length of 0.84 cm (0.33 in), Schindleria brevipinguis, which is native to the GBR and Osprey Reef, is one of the smallest known fish and vertebrate.[42] There are at least 330 species of ascidians on the reef system with the diameter of 1–10 cm (0.4–4 in). Between 300 and 500 species of bryozoans live on the reef.[43]

Saltwater crocodiles live in mangrove and salt marshes on the coast.[44] Around 125 species of shark, stingray, skates or chimaera live on the GBR,[43][45] in addition to about 5,000 species of mollusc. The latter include the giant clam and various nudibranchs and cone snails.[21]

One study of 443 individual sharks gives the following distribution of their species on the Australian side of the Coral Sea: grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, 69%), whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus, 21%), silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus, 10%), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier, <1%) and great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran, <1%). The interaction rate (free diving) at the Coral Sea reefs ranged from a few to 26 sharks per hour.[46] The rare Etmopterus dislineatus shark species is endemic to the central part of the Coral Sea. It has been observed at depths of 590–700 m on or near the continental slope.[47]

Human activities

The coastal areas of the Coral Sea were populated at least 40,000 years ago by prehistoric people descending through the northern islands. Those Aboriginal tribes have been dispersed and nowadays only about 70 groups live in the area around the GBR.[48]

The sea was the location for the Battle of the Coral Sea, a major confrontation during World War II between the navies of the Empire of Japan, and the United States and Australia. An example is the wreckage of the USS Lexington found in 2018.

Navigation has long been a traditional human activity on the Coral Sea and there are 10 major ports on the Queensland coast alone. More than 3,500 ships operated in this area in 2007, making over 9,700 voyages that transported coal, sugar, iron ore, timber, oil, chemicals, cattle and other goods.[49] The abundance of coral reefs hinders shipping traffic, and about 50–60 accidents per year were reported between 1990 and 2007 in the GBR alone.[50]

Other economic activities in the sea include fishing and exploration of petroleum deposits in the Gulf of Papua.[2] The sea is also a popular tourism destination. In 2006–2007, tourism on the GBR contributed A$5.1 billion to the Australian economy.[51] The tourism is mostly foreign or from remote parts of Australia, with a local contribution of about A$153 million. In particular, about 14.6 million visits were made to the Coral Sea reefs by the Queensland residents over 12 months in 2008.[52] Growing concerns over the environmental effects of tourism resulted in establishment in 1975 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are also smaller state and national parks. In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[9] From the middle of 2004, approximately one-third of the GBR Marine Park is protected from species removal of any kind, including fishing, without written permission.[53]

It was suggested in 1923 that the Great Barrier Reef contains a major oil reservoir. After the Commonwealth Petroleum Search Subsidies Act of 1957, hydrocarbon exploration increased in Queensland, including a well drilled at Wreck Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef in 1959.[54] In the 1960s, drilling for oil and gas was investigated throughout the Great Barrier Reef,[55][56] in the Torres Strait, along "the eastern seaboard of Cape York to Princess Charlotte Bay" and along the coast from Cooktown to Fraser Island. In the late 1960s, more exploratory oil wells were drilled near Wreck Island in the Capricorn Channel, and near Darnley Island in the Torres Strait, but with no results.[54] In the 1970s, responding to concern about oil spills, the Australian government forbade petroleum drilling on the GBR.[57][58] Yet oil spills due to shipping accidents are still a threat to environment, with a total of 282 spills between 1987 and 2002.[59]

Great barrier oil spill march 2010 (cropped)
Shen Neng 1 aground on the Great Barrier Reef on 5 April 2010

Queensland has several major urban centres on the coast including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast and the industrial city of Gladstone, which inevitably contaminate the sea. About thirty rivers and hundreds of small streams add continental water, which contains sediments, pesticides and industrial waste.[60] Runoff is especially concerning in the region south of Cairns, as it may receive up to 4200 mm of rain per year.[14] About 90% of sea contamination originates from land farming activities.[61] The area is continuously urbanising, so that the population is expected to increase by 40% by 2026. As a result, 70–90% of the coastal wetlands has been lost over the past decades, and many remaining flora species are endangered.[62]

On 3 April 2010, the Chinese ship Shen Neng 1 carrying 950 tonnes of oil, ran aground east of Rockhampton in Central Queensland, Australia,[63] causing the 2010 Great Barrier Reef oil spill and inflicting the largest damage to the GBR and the Coral Sea so far.[64] The scarred area was roughly 3 km (1.9 mi) long and 250 m (820 ft) wide,[65] and some parts of it have become completely devoid of marine life. There are concerns that there could be considerable long-term damage and it will take 10 to 20 years for the reef to recover.[66] By 13 April 2010, oil tar balls were washing up on the beaches of North West Island, a significant bird rookery and turtle nesting colony.[64]

A group of 10 environment NGOs have come together as a coalition called the Protect our Coral Sea campaign, asking the government to create a very large highly protected Coral Sea Marine Park.[67] In November 2011 the Australian government announced that a 989,842 square kilometres (382,180 sq mi) protected area was planned and pending approval.[68]

See also


  1. ^ a b Coral Sea, Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian)
  2. ^ a b c d Coral Sea, Encyclopædia Britannica on-line
  3. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. p. 37. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  4. ^ Hopley, p. 19
  5. ^ Hopley, p. 27
  6. ^ Hopley, pp. 33–34
  7. ^ "Solomon Islands earthquake and tsunami", Breaking Legal News – International, 4 March 2007
  8. ^ "Aid reaches tsunami-hit Solomons", BBC News, 2007-04-03
  9. ^ a b c d Great Barrier Reef, Encyclopædia Britannica on-line
  10. ^ Hopley, pp. 1, 26
  11. ^ East Australian Current, NASA
  12. ^ Susan B. Marriott, Jan Alexander Floodplains: interdisciplinary approaches, Geological Society, 1999 ISBN 1-86239-050-9 p. 31
  13. ^ a b Hopley, p. 96
  14. ^ a b Climate Data Online, Australian Bureau of Meteorology
  15. ^ John Upton. "Climate Change is 'Devastating' The Great Barrier Reef". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Australia—Coral Sea—Islands and Dangers, p. 131
  17. ^ Jonathan D. Sauer Cayman Islands seashore vegetation: a study in comparative biogeography, University of California Press, 1982 ISBN 0520096568 pp. 47, 53
  18. ^ Alan R. Longhurst Ecological Geography of the Sea, Academic Press, 1998 ISBN 0-12-455559-4 pp. 331–332
  19. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2005). "Environmental Status: Seagrasses". The State of the Great Barrier Reef Report – latest updates. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  20. ^ "Appendix 5- Island Flora and Fauna". Fauna and Flora of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. 2000. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  21. ^ a b c d e f CRC Reef Research Centre Ltd. "Reef facts: Plants and Animals on the Great Barrier Reef". Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 14 July 2006.
  22. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2006). "Information Fact Sheets No. 20 Coral Spawning" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2007.
  23. ^ Australian Institute of Marine Science (2002). "Soft coral atlas of the Great Barrier Reef". Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2007.
  24. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Coral Sea. Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC
  25. ^ Hopley, p. 185
  26. ^ Pierre Madl. "Marine Biology I – Acanthaster planci". Retrieved 28 August 2006.
  27. ^ The CRC Reef Research Centre defines an outbreak as when there are more than 30 adult starfish in an area of one hectare. CRC Reef Research Centre. "Managing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks". Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2006. (PDF)
  28. ^ "Crc Reef Research Centre Technical Report No. 32 – Crown-of-thorns starfish(Acanthaster planci) in the central GBR region. Results of fine-scale surveys conducted in 1999–2000". Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
  29. ^ CRC Reef Research Centre. "Crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-28. (PDF)
  30. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2000). "Fauna and Flora of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area". Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006.
  31. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2004). "Environmental Status: Marine Mammals". The State of the Great Barrier Reef Report – latest updates. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
  32. ^ Dobbs, Kirstin (2007). Marine turtle and dugong habitats in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park used to implement biophysical operational principles for the Representative Areas Program (PDF). Great Barrier Marine Park Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2009.
  33. ^ Hopley, pp. 450–451
  34. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Environmental status: birds". The State of the Great Barrier Reef Report – latest updates. Archived from the original on 13 June 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  35. ^ "Environmental status: birds Condition". The State of the Great Barrier Reef Report – latest updates. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  36. ^ Laticauda colubrina (SCHNEIDER, 1799), The Reptile Database
  37. ^ "Appendix 2 – Listed Marine Species". Fauna and Flora of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. 2000. Archived from the original on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  38. ^ P. Gopalakrishnakone Sea snake toxinology, NUS Press, 1994, ISBN 9971-69-193-0 p. 98
  39. ^ Harold Heatwole Sea Snakes, UNSW Press, 1999, ISBN 0-86840-776-3 p. 115
  40. ^ Steve Backshall Steve Backshall's venom: poisonous animals in the natural world, New Holland Publishers, 2007, ISBN 1-84537-734-6 p. 155
  41. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Fish Spawning Aggregation Sites on the Great Barrier Reef". Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  42. ^ W. Watson and H.J. Walker Jr, The World’s Smallest Vertebrate, Schindleria brevipinguis, A New Paedomorphic Species in the Family Schindleriidae (Perciformes: Gobioidei) Records of the Australian Museum (2004) Vol. 56: 139–142. However, it was claimed later (2006) that Paedocypris progenetica is the smallest fish and vertebrate.
  43. ^ a b "Appendix 4- Other species of conservation concern". Fauna and Flora of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. 2000. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  44. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2005). "Environmental Status: Marine Reptiles". Archived from the original on 1 July 2010.
  45. ^ "Environmental Status: Sharks and rays". The State of the Great Barrier Reef Report – latest updates. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
  46. ^ Australian Underwater Federation. "Community monitoring of reef sharks in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, Australia" Archived 27 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine (2008)
  47. ^ Deep Sea 2003: conference on the governance and management of deep-sea fisheries, Food & Agriculture Org., 2006 ISBN 92-5-105457-6 p. 374
  48. ^ Traditional Use, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009
  49. ^ Ports and shipping, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009
  50. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Shipping incidents in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park". Archived from the original on 7 October 2009.
  51. ^ Tourism, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009
  52. ^ Recreation, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009
  53. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. "Marine Park Zoning". Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  54. ^ a b Bowen, James; Bowen, Margarita (2002). The Great Barrier Reef : history, science, heritage. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. p. 319. ISBN 0-521-82430-3.
  55. ^ "Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority – Annual Report 1976-77" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011.
  56. ^ Australian Institute of Marine Science (1996). "AIMS Science for Management of the Great Barrier Reef – The Great Barrier Reef at a Glance". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 10 November 2006.
  57. ^ Department of the Environment and Heritage. "Review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975". Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
  58. ^ Parliament of Australia (2006). "Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry". Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  59. ^ Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2006). "Principal water quality influences on Great Barrier Reef ecosystems". Archived from the original on 16 October 2006. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  60. ^ Henderson, Fiona; Kroon, Frederike (2009). "Overview of CSIRO Water Quality Research in the Great Barrier Reef, 2003–2008" (PDF). CSIRO.
  61. ^ "Coastal water quality" (PDF). The State of the Environment Report Queensland 2003. Environment Protection Agency Queensland. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
  62. ^ Coastal development, Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009
  63. ^ "Ship leaking oil 'way off course'". ABC News. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  64. ^ a b "Oil found on beach near damaged reef". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  65. ^ AAP (15 April 2010). "Two men in court over coal carrier grounding on Great Barrier Reef". The Australian. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  66. ^ AAP; Andrew Fraser (14 April 2010). "Great Barrier Reef island oil spill clean-up starts". The Australian. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  67. ^ Retrieved on 2012-08-09.
  68. ^ "Australia plans huge marine reserve in Coral Sea". BBC News. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011.


External links

  • Media related to Coral Sea at Wikimedia Commons
Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia, taking place in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The battle is historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which the opposing ships neither sighted nor fired directly upon one another.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive position in the South Pacific, the Japanese decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby (in New Guinea) and Tulagi (in the southeastern Solomon Islands). The plan to accomplish this was called Operation MO, and involved several major units of Japan's Combined Fleet. These included two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion forces. It was under the overall command of Japanese Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue.

The U.S. learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence, and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-U.S. cruiser force to oppose the offensive. These were under the overall command of U.S. Admiral Frank J. Fletcher.

On 3–4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were sunk or damaged in surprise attacks by aircraft from the U.S. fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of U.S. carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers advanced towards the Coral Sea with the intention of locating and destroying the Allied naval forces. On the evening of 6 May, the direction chosen for air searches by the opposing commanders brought the two carrier forces to within 70 nmi (81 mi; 130 km) of each other, unbeknownst to both sides. Beginning on 7 May, the carrier forces from the two sides engaged in airstrikes over two consecutive days. On the first day, both forces mistakenly believed they were attacking their opponent's fleet carriers, but were actually attacking other units, with the U.S. sinking the Japanese light carrier Shōhō while the Japanese sank a U.S. destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the fleet carriers found and engaged each other, with the Japanese fleet carrier Shōkaku heavily damaged, the U.S. fleet carrier Lexington critically damaged (and later scuttled), and Yorktown damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two forces disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.

Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. The battle marked the first time since the start of the war that a major Japanese advance had been checked by the Allies. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku—the former damaged and the latter with a depleted aircraft complement—were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway the following month, while Yorktown did participate, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the U.S. victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean and helped prompt their ill-fated land offensive over the Kokoda Track. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign; this, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate surrender in World War II.

Bloomfield River

The Bloomfield River is a river located in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland, Australia, noted for its Bloomfield River cod fish species, found only in the river.

Coral Sea Islands

The Coral Sea Islands Territory is an external territory of Australia which comprises a group of small and mostly uninhabited tropical islands and reefs in the Coral Sea, northeast of Queensland, Australia. The only inhabited island is Willis Island. The territory covers 780,000 km2 (301,160 sq mi), most of which is ocean, extending east and south from the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef and includes Heralds Beacon Island, Osprey Reef, the Willis Group and fifteen other reef/island groups. Cato Island is the highest point in the Territory.

Endeavour River

The Endeavour River (Guugu Yimithirr: Wabalumbaal), inclusive of the Endeavour River Right Branch, the Endeavour River South Branch, and the Endeavour River North Branch, is a river system located on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia.

Esk River (Queensland)

The Esk River is a river located in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland, Australia.

Forbes Islands National Park

Forbes Islands is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 1,962 km northwest of Brisbane in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Queensland and is located about 40 km North East of Iron Range National Park and Lockhart River in the Cape Weymouth area in the Coral Sea just off the small locality of Portland Roads.

Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands

The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands (also known as The Gay Kingdom of the Coral Sea) was a micronation established as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in Australia. Declared in 2004 in response to the Australian government's refusal to recognise same-sex marriages, it was founded on Australia's external overseas Territory of the Coral Sea Islands, a group of uninhabited islets east of the Great Barrier Reef. The Kingdom was dissolved on 17 November 2017 following the decision made by the Australian people to legalize gay marriage.The Coral Sea Islands Territory is an external territory of Australia which comprises a group of small and mostly uninhabited tropical islands and reefs in the Coral Sea, northeast of Queensland, Australia. The territory covers 780,000 km2 (301,160 sq mi), most of which is ocean, extending east and south from the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, and includes Heralds Beacon Island, Osprey Reef, the Willis Group, and fifteen other reef/island groups. Cato Island is the highest point in the Territory and a camp site on the Island called Heaven was the claimed capital of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands.

Japanese aircraft carrier Shōhō

Shōhō (Japanese: 祥鳳, "Auspicious Phoenix" or "Happy Phoenix") was a light aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Originally built as the submarine support ship Tsurugizaki in the late 1930s, she was converted before the Pacific War into an aircraft carrier and renamed. Completed in early 1942, the ship supported the invasion forces in Operation MO, the invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea, and was sunk by American carrier aircraft on her first combat operation during the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May. Shōhō was the first Japanese aircraft carrier to be sunk during World War II.

Lockhart River (Queensland)

The Lockhart River is a river in Queensland, Australia.

The headwaters of the river rise under Chester Peak in the Chester Range, part of the Great Dividing Range, and flows northwards. It continues past High Range and Heming Range eventually discharging into Lloyd Bay in the Coral Sea.

The river has a catchment area of 2,883 square kilometres (1,113 sq mi) of which an area of 134 square kilometres (52 sq mi) is composed of estuarine wetlands.Named by the explorer Robert Logan Jack in 1880 after his friend Hugh Lockhart.

Midway-class aircraft carrier

The Midway-class aircraft carrier was one of the longest-serving aircraft carrier designs in history. First commissioned in late 1945, the lead ship of the class, USS Midway, was not decommissioned until 1992, shortly after service in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. USS Franklin D. Roosevelt was decommissioned in 1977. USS Coral Sea was decommissioned in 1990.

Mossman River

The Mossman River is a river located in the Cape York Peninsula of Far North Queensland, Australia.

The headwaters of the river rise under Devil's Thumb on the Mount Carbine Tableland in the Great Dividing Range. The river flows through a deeply incised valley in the Mount Lewis Forest Reserve in an easterly direction and then through the Mossman Gorge, part of the Daintree National Park, and onto the coastal plain past the township of Mossman, where the river is crossed by the Captain Cook Highway. The river eventually discharges into Trinity Bay and the Coral Sea between Newell and Cooya Beach. The river descends 1,050 metres (3,440 ft) over its 24-kilometre (15 mi) course.The river has a catchment area of 472 square kilometres (182 sq mi) of which an area of 16 square kilometres (6 sq mi) is composed of estuarine wetlands.The river was named by the explorer George Dalrymple in 1873 after Hugh Mosman who discovered gold in Charters Towers. Dalrymple wrote "I named this river the Mossman River, after Mossman, an explorer and mining man, member of a very prominent mining family."

Mulgrave River

The Mulgrave River, incorporating the East Mulgrave River and the West Mulgrave River, is a river system located in Far North Queensland, Australia. The 70-kilometre (43 mi)-long river flows towards the Coral Sea and is located approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Cairns.

Pioneer River

The Pioneer River is a river located in North Queensland, Australia. The 120-kilometre (75 mi) long river flows through the city of Mackay.

Solomon Islands national rugby league team

The Solomon Islands national rugby league team (nicknamed the Solies) represents the Solomon Islands in the sport of rugby league football.

The Coral Sea (book)

The Coral Sea is a book by Patti Smith, published in 1996. In 2008 Smith released The Coral Sea as an album with musical accompaniment by Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, recorded during two live performances of the duo.

USS Anzio (CVE-57)

USS Anzio (ACV/CVE/CVHE-57), was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy that saw service during World War II in the Pacific War. Originally classified as an auxiliary aircraft carrier ACV-57, the vessel was laid down in 1942, in Vancouver, Washington, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company. The vessel was initially named Alikula Bay, but was renamed Coral Sea and redesignated CVE-57 in 1943. Coral Sea took part in naval operations supporting attacks on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, New Guinea and the Marianas Islands. In September 1944, the vessel was renamed Anzio. As Anzio, the escort carrier took part in assaults on the Bonin Islands and Okinawa. Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Anzio was among the escort carriers used in Operation Magic Carpet, returning US soldiers to the United States. Following this service, Anzio was laid up in reserve at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1946. The escort carrier was redesignated CVHE-57 on 15 June 1955, before being sold for scrap in 1959.

USS Coral Sea (CV-43)

USS Coral Sea (CV/CVB/CVA-43), a Midway-class aircraft carrier, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the Battle of the Coral Sea. She earned the affectionate nickname "Ageless Warrior" through her long career. Initially classified as an aircraft carrier with hull classification symbol CV-43, the contract to build the ship was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia on 14 June 1943. She was reclassified as a "Large Aircraft Carrier" with hull classification symbol CVB-43 on 15 July 1943. Her keel was laid down on 10 July 1944 in Shipway 10. She was launched on 2 April 1946 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Kinkaid and commissioned on 1 October 1947 with Captain A.P. Storrs III in command.

Before 8 May 1945, the aircraft carrier CVB-42 had been known as USS Coral Sea; after that date, CVB-42 was renamed in honor of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the late President, and CVB-43 was named the Coral Sea.

Coral Sea was one of the last U.S Navy carriers to be completed with a straight flight deck, with an angled flight deck added on during later modernizations. All subsequent newly-built U.S Navy carriers have had the angled deck included as part of the ship's construction.

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)

USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB/CVA/CV-42) was the second of three Midway-class aircraft carriers. To her crew, she was known as "Swanky Franky," "Foo-De-Roo," or "Rosie," with the last nickname probably the most popular. Roosevelt spent most of her active deployed career operating in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the United States Sixth Fleet. The ship was decommissioned in 1977 and was scrapped shortly afterward. She was the first aircraft carrier of the United States Navy to be named in honor of a President of the United States.

Waterpark Creek

The Waterpark Creek is a creek located in Central Queensland, Australia.

The headwaters of the creek rise below Samuel Hill in the Great Dividing Range and flows in a south easterly direction. It continues through the Byfield National Park and then travels almost parallel with the Yeppoon - Byfield Road before discharging into Corio Bay, approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of Yeppoon, and then into the Coral Sea. The creek descends 53 metres (174 ft) over its 35-kilometre (22 mi) course.The drainage basin of the creek occupies an area of 1,836 square kilometres (709 sq mi) of which an area of 259 square kilometres (100 sq mi) is made up of estuarine wetlands.

List of Australian seas
Arctic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Indian Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Southern Ocean
Endorheic basins

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