« South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network
||Freycinet Commonwealth Marine Reserve
||28 June 2007 (effective 3 September 2007)
|Types of zoning
||VI – Multiple Use Zone – 826 km2
Ia – Sanctuary zone – 56,793km2
II - Recreational use zone – 323km2
|Management plan status
Interim management arrangements
The Freycinet Commonwealth Marine Reserve is the largest reserve in the network and comprises a total area of 57,942 square kilometres. This Commonwealth Marine Reserve is named after the adjacent Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tasmania. It covers a depth range from about 40 metres on the shallow continental shelf to abyssal depths of 3,000 metres or more at the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone.
In the inshore region of this reserve, gulper sharks and other school sharks can be found, whilst offshore, submerged mountains shape the landscape. These mounts are so deep and remote that little is known of the bizarre and fascinating life they support.
The Freycinet Commonwealth Marine Reserve spans the continental shelf, slope and deeper water ecosystems of the major biological zone that extends around south-eastern Australia to the east of Tasmania. Key features of this area are the continental shelf and a long portion of steep continental slope escarpment that joins to a large off-shore saddle.
Other prominent features include large off-shore seamounts which are believed to be too deep to have been fished. Seamounts are generally considered to be important centres of deep ocean biodiversity. They offer a wide range of habitats at different depths and orientations to currents. The large seamounts to the east of Tasmania are believed to be individually important, providing habitat to species that may be unique to each seamount and to a range of more widely occurring species that make their homes only on their rocky slopes.
Presently little is known about the fauna of these seamounts, but based on information from other better known offshore seamounts, seabed animals are expected to include species belonging exclusively or confined to a particular place. The shallower part of the Freycinet reserve includes habitat important to the white fronted tern, Australian gannet, black faced cormorant, common diving petrel, fairy prion, little penguin, shy albatross, silver gull, crested tern, short tailed shearwater, and white faced storm petrel.
Importantly it includes the habitat of a group of continental shelf and slope shark species including school shark and between 400 and 600 metres, gulper sharks (including Harrison’s dogfish and Southern dogfish) which, have been nominated for listing as threatened species.