Tasmania is fortunate to have six marine protected areas around the state, and one at sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Combined, these areas offer a high level protection to 4% of Tasmania’s marine territory out to three nautical miles. However, Macquarie Island makes up 75% of this figure, and only 1% of the waters around mainland Tasmania are currently fully protected in marine national parks.
Of Tasmania’s nine marine bioregions, four have no marine national parks protection at all, three have inadequate protection, and just two bioregions (Macquarie and Twofold) receive adequate protection according to the Marine Protected Areas Strategy. Recently, there have been 12 new marine conservation areas gazetted from the Inquiry into the Bruny Bioregion.
We are committed to implementing the Tasmanian Marine Protected Area Strategy and a comprehensive, adequate and representative network of marine national parks in all of Tasmania’s bioregions. The Tasmanian Together process has confirmed this as a priority in order for us to foster a prosperous and sustainable future for our state.
Seven marine reserves of Tasmania:
For more information about Tasmania’s Marine Reserves, visit http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=397
Tinderbox was created in 1991 to provide a safe, sheltered marine study area for education, research and recreation. It is located 1.4km north-east of Tinderbox Bay to Piersons Point, and 700m south-west of Tinderbox Bay, covering 45 hectares and including all water up to 200m from the shoreline.
Features include seadragons, pipe fish, senator fish, small caves, over 30 species of seaweed and many invertebrates such as bryozoans, sponges, and anemones. This is a sandstone reef extending out into the soft bottom habitat of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The reserve was enlarged in 2009 to substantially increase its effectiveness in protecting biodiversity and ecosystem processes.
Created in 1991 to protect the unique feature of tannin-rich freshwater that overlays cold, nutrient-rich seawater, Ninepin Point is a light-deprived environment fostering species usually only found in very deep water. It covers 59 hectares and extends 500m south into the Dentrecasteaux Channel. Ninepin Point is a rocky reef with over 100 species of seaweed, 80 species of red algae, sponges, sea tulips, lacework bryozoans, and many fish including the elusive Red Velvet fish.
This small reserve highlights the importance of protecting a range of marine habitats for their unique diversity. The reserve will be enlarged in 2009, but if it were even bigger it may become healthier and more resilient, and offer more protection to more mobile species.
This is a great example of the benefits of Marine National Parks. Adjacent to the Maria Island National Park, this reserve of 1500 hectares was created in 1991 to protect a representative range of marine habitats found on the east coast. Half of this area is fully protected and the rest allows recreational fishing. Research at Maria Island has successfully shown that fully protected areas are critical to restoring species diversity and abundance in the marine environment particularly for heavily-fished species. Such rehabilitation can help control invasive species (such as urchins) and restore natural balance and resilience in an ecosystem. Full protection for the whole reserve would maximise the benefits of this marine protected area.
This reserve was created in 1991, covers 49ha, and is located close to the popular fishing town of Bicheno in the Freycinet Bioregion. Considered one of the best diving spots in Tasmania, the reserve includes shallow kelp-covered reef, deep spectacularly coloured sponge gardens, and rock ledges inhabited by plentiful fish and colorful invertebrates. The island is also home to one of Tasmania’s largest nesting sites for the seabird, crested tern.
Despite its small size, Governor Island Marine Reserve offers much needed protection to heavily fished species including rock lobsters, allowing some room to breathe for these fishing favourites. This has enabled the local population to bounce back with the number and size of animals increasing dramatically since it’s declaration.
This reserve was created in 2004 and covers the entire 29,000ha of the Twofold Bioregion. The reserve is split in half with one area fully protected in a sanctuary zone on the western side of the Kent Group (13,837ha), and the eastern area a habitat protection zone (15,048ha) which allows some fishing.
The Kent Group Marine Reserve is the meeting point of the East Australian Current and the westerly influence of Bass Strait, and features more species than any other region in Tasmania, including the violet roughy, mosaic leatherjacket, Wilson’s weedfish, the southern limit of distribution of Maori wrasse, and gorgonian sea fans.
The reserve lies within the Southwest National Park and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, encompassing Port Davey, Bathurst Channel and Bathurst Harbour and covering 17,753 hectares and extends 20km inland to the north and east, up to the high water mark. Almost 10,000 hectares is fully protected, with 7,800 hectares allowing some fishing activities. It features open ocean, drowned river valleys, exposed reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows, tannin-rich freshwater layered with seawater, nutrient deficient waters, over 500 species of invertebrates such as zoanthids and anemones, blue throated wrasse, rock lobster, abalone, red and brown algae, bull kelp, sea pens, lace bryozoan, sponges, biscuit stars and skates.
This area provides much-needed protection for an ultrasensitive marine environment. This is the only reserve in the Davey Bioregion, despite the Tasmanian MPA Strategy aim to protect a comprehensive, adequate and representative network of MPAs. The benefits of having linked protected areas are not maximised, catastrophic events could destroy the only representative area we have, and it is likely that other marine habitats and wildlife in the Davey Bioregion are not represented.
This is the largest fully protected marine reserve in Tasmania, made up of 75,000 hectares protecting all of the state waters out to three nautical miles and the entire Macquarie Bioregion. It includes highly unique sub-Antarctic processes, geological characteristics, and numerous globally threatened albatross, penguin and seal populations. One of the most comprehensively protected areas and together with the island’s World Heritage Area status, Macquarie Island is an excellent focus for climate and ocean research.
The new Bruny Bioregion Marine Conservation Areas–Opossum Bay, Monk Bay, Cloudy Bay Lagoon, Central Channel, Simpson Point, Roberts Point, Huon Estuary, Hippolyte Rocks, Sloping Island, Waterfall-Fortescue, Blackman Rivulet, South Arm, Port Cygnet, and River Derwent–provide protection and maintenance of the natural and cultural values of the area and the sustainable use of natural resources. Despite this progressive step foward, these areas are not fully protected from some of the most harmful activities, such as commercial and recreational fishing.