The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world, stretching for over 1600 miles in the Coral Sea, off the northeastern coast of Australia. You can Google Earth to the destination, 18° 17′ 10″ S, 147° 42′ 0″ E. Much like the continent of Australia itself, the reef is alive with diversity, but also toxicity. There are many creatures lurking underneath that can be described as poisonous such as the Nudibranch which has psychedelic skin colorings. To see a Nudibranch, simply click to the National Geographic website.
Australia leading the world in ocean protection explains that since 2004 Australia has increased the area of no-fishing protection zones of the reef from 4% to 33%. As a direct result, fish population of some species has increased by a multiple of 5. the fishing ban works in two ways; a) obviously the fish population is restored, b) the increased fish population keeps the number of predatory starfish under control.
The country is considering other activities to save the reef from global warming as explained in PM in Cairns to look at coral bleaching. The biology of the coral is a little complex - the coral are dependent upon a photosynthesizing algae known as zooxanthellae which also provide color to the coral. When the coral is stressed by the environment such as elevated water temperatures, or increased water pH (ocean acidification), the algae is killed. This results in the coral turning a bleach white. Hence the name, coral bleaching.
The Australians are further considering the serious reduction of CO2 which is has been resulting in the acidization of the ocean. (See The Oceans Become Fizzy.) This will result in up-front immediate costs to the citizens of Australia. It means closing coal-powered plants and reduction of CO2-producing vehicles. Coal is a major export for Australia, so for the country to have a positive impact, it needs to shrink that export. That will be a tough sell. (God loves the tobacco farmer, too!) However, as described in Australia's harsh reality; adapt or perish, the country may not have much choice.