Nautilus in blue water, Coral Sea. / ©: Mark Spencer / WWF

Coral Sea

Covering about 1 million square kilometres – three times the size of the neighbouring Great Barrier Reef  – the Coral Sea comprises a series of spectacular coral reefs formed by underwater mountains that rise thousands of metres from the sea floor.

The Coral Sea is a rare example of a marine environment that is thriving. Bountiful fish populations, including grey and white-tip reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, tuna, barracuda, turtles, whales and rare sea creatures like the nautilus inhabit these waters, alongside an incredibly diverse array of corals.

Globally, it’s a different story. Coral reefs are vanishing five times faster than the world’s rainforests and populations of large marine species, such as sharks and tuna, are estimated to have declined by up to 90% in many areas.

Its remoteness has largely spared the Coral Sea a similar fate. However, the area is largely unprotected, leaving it vulnerable to the same impacts that have devastated other marine regions, including sea-level rise caused by global warming, illegal fishing and large-scale oil and gas exploration.

Coral Sea Map



View Coral Sea in a larger map
Coral reef with anthias bassletts. Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia. / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
Coral reef with anthias bassletts. Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon

What you can do to help


WWF-Australia believes the time has come to protect this tropical marine wilderness.

The Australian Government heeded the call for the establishment of a large, world-class, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea that will provide a safe haven for marine life and recognise its historic significance.  Once passed into law, it would create one of the world’s largest marine parks, protecting the Coral Sea before irreversible damage is done.



Diver and coral, Coral Sea. / ©: Mark Spencer / WWF
Diver and coral, Coral Sea.
© Mark Spencer / WWF