The oceans off Australia’s east coast, and those around Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, are characterised by a remarkable beauty and diversity.
From subtropical to cool ocean waters, from the mainland out to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, the Temperate East Marine Parks are home to an abundance of sea life unique to this part of the world. Grey nurse sharks, black rock cod, Australian and New Zealand fur seals are joined by migrating humpback, southern right, minke and bryde’s whales.
Why is the Temperate East Marine Region Important?
The Temperate East Marine Region covers Australian waters from the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Coral Sea marine park, to Bermagui in southern New South Wales. It also includes the waters surrounding Lord Howe and Norfolk islands, hundreds of kilometres offshore from the mainland.
The marine region encompasses subtropical and temperate environments, and incorporates some of the southernmost coral reefs in the world, three seamount chains, the canyons on the eastern continental slope, shelf rocky reefs, offshore reefs and abyssal plains.
The marine parks of the Temperate East Network include habitats such as continental shelf, slope, and abyssal plain/deep ocean floor, tropical and temperate reef systems, seamounts and canyons. They have high levels of species richness and diversity, particularly among corals, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs, sea sponges and fish.
Lord Howe Island
Divers, snorkelers and birdwatchers return to Lord Howe again and again to see the unique mix of wildlife in the world’s clearest water. Lord Howe Island is recognised internationally on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. It is home to the world’s most southerly coral reef, and a crossroads for ocean species. Five major ocean currents collide here, and the rich variety of water temperatures, nutrient levels and habitats allows a fascinating mix of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species to survive.
Region Size Statistics
There are eight Australian Marine Parks that make up the Temperate East Network, including marine parks around Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. These marine parks cover 383,339 km2.