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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

30 May 2006

Four new species uncovered off Rottnest

A survey of the deep waters off Western Australia’s Rottnest Island has revealed fish species previously unknown to science, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Senator Campbell said the voyage was part of research that would underpin the Australian Government’s programme of marine planning around Australia’s south-west waters.

“This voyage is part of the Australian Government’s marine science programme, which is helping to fill the gaps in our knowledge about our marine environment,” Senator Campbell said.

“Before this cruise we knew more about the fish off Heard Island in our remote Southern Ocean than those found directly off Australia’s fourth largest city.

“We are learning all the time about our marine environment and our information base is constantly improving, allowing us to plan confidently for future management”.

The survey programme is a collaboration between the Department of the Environment and Heritage and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. The research was conducted from the Department of Fisheries vessel RV Naturaliste.

The Naturaliste spent a week at sea, undertaking deep water trawls on the continental shelf north and south of Rottnest Island. Four species are previously unknown to science and 10 more, which could not be positively identified, may also be new.

Fish collected during the survey have been freighted to Hobart for identification and their tissues DNA barcoded as part of the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship project. Information learned during the project will be invaluable as work starts on developing a marine bioregional plan for the waters of Australia’s south-west.

This plan will help guide the Australian Government, sectoral managers and industry about the key conservation issues and priorities in each marine region.

Media contact:
Marianne McCabe on 02 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

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