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Reef named in honour of Professor Richard Kenchington

Kenchington Reef – a previously unnamed reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park now bears the name of a founding marine park manager, the late Professor Richard Kenchington.

Richard Kenchington (left) with Hon. Ian Wilson (Minister Home Affairs & Environ), at public consultation for first section zoning plan, 1980.

Professor Kenchington was among the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (Reef Authority) first staff members in 1977, and he dedicated his career to the conservation of the environmental and heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef.

During his time at the Reef Authority, Professor Kenchington led multiple instrumental initiatives including the drafting of the UNESCO nomination which led to the Great Barrier Reef being listed as a World Heritage Area.

Reef Authority CEO Josh Thomas said the reef naming idea was put forward by Professor Kenchington’s close marine science colleagues – Jon Day, Len Zell, and Di Tarte in recognition of his visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to sustainable practices which have left an indelible mark on the field of marine conservation.

“This high honour pays tribute to Richard’s invaluable contributions to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and wider marine environments through sustainable ocean and coastal management,” Mr Thomas said.

“Through his cutting-edge ideas, including authoring the widely cited book on Managing Marine Environments, Richard’s legacy has maintained a lasting influence and impact on marine park management to this very day.

“He played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the Marine Park’s multi-use zoning areas − providing better biodiversity protection, strengthening resilience for faster recovery for marine animals and corals impacted by severe weather, and preserving the cultural significance for the Reef.”Professor Kenchington’s wife, Carol Kenchington said the family is honoured to have his life acknowledged in such an appropriate way.

“We are delighted that Richard’s foundational work has been honoured in such a fitting way and wish to thank the people who have made it happen,” said Ms Kenchington.

Formerly known as Reef 11-091, the newly named Kenchington Reef is found in the Far Northern cross-shelf region of the Marine Park in the vicinity of Moulter and MacLennan Cay –– east of the Cape York Peninsula –– and within a Preservation (pink) Zone.

Reef naming processes are strict and require extensive consultation. Following Richard’s nomination, the naming of Kenchington Reef was agreed upon under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Hydrographic Office, the Queensland Department of Resources, and the Reef Authority.