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  • 80% of marine life found in South Australia's waters are found no where else on Earth

    80% of marine life found in South Australia's waters are found no where else on Earth

South-east marine region

In 2007, the John Howard Coalition Government established a network of marine parks in the South-east Marine Region of Australia. The South-east Marine Region extends from the far south coast of New South Wales, around Tasmania and to South Australia. It includes the Commonwealth waters of Bass Strait and the waters surrounding Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean. This is a network of Commonwealth marine parks and comprises 14 marine parks and covers more than 388 000 km2.

Why is the South-east Marine Region Important?

The marine life of the south-east marine region is diverse and globally recognised for its high level of endemism – species found nowhere else on this earth. In fact around 85% of the known fish and 62% of the seafloor flora are considered endemic.

The cool and warm currents have for millennia prevented the migration of species. This has in turn created an environment where new species have evolved over time and are now found nowhere else on the planet. Amazing deep sea canyons are found along the continental margin providing habitat for a diverse range of species, including deep water corals, sea urchins, sponges and a diverse range of fish and crabs with bizarre and wonderful adaptations for survival in the deep.

To the south and east of Tasmania a group of seamounts rise from the sea floor some as high as 4000 metres. Seamounts are generally areas of higher productivity in the otherwise nutrient-poor open ocean. They act as obstacles to deep ocean currents restricting and intensifying their flow. These accelerated currents sweep the seamounts clear of sediment and create a perfect environment for corals and other bottom-dwelling species. This provides a consistent and relatively rich food source for ocean wildlife.

Macquarie Island Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Macquarie Island Marine Reserve is located to the east of Macquarie Island. The reserve includes important feeding and breeding sites for fur seals, penguins and seabirds like the albatross. Macquarie Island is a hub for scientific research. The Research Station or “Macca” was established in 1911 as the first radio link between Australia and Antarctica and now has a large focus on biology, geosciences, meteorology, and human impact on the environment.

Management of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

The Federal Government has developed a draft management plan for the marine reserve network in the south-east marine region. On 11 July 2012, the Director of National Parks published a notice inviting public comment on the draft South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network management plan and this public consultation is now closed. The management plan will now be finalised and established under Australia's national environment law.