Six species of sea turtles come to the reef to breed – the green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, flatback turtle, and the olive ridley. The green sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef have two genetically distinct populations, one in the northern part of the reef and the other in the southern part.

Raine Island (situated on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef) is the largest and most important green sea turtle nesting area in the world, with up to 18,000 females nesting on the small coral sand cay in one season. The waters surrounding Raine Island are so active that seeing over 250 turtles during an hour in the water is common. The nesting site has been active on the island for more than 1,000 years, making it the longest known marine turtle rookery anywhere in the world.

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