Apollo Commonwealth Marine Reserve
|Area||1184 km2 (118 400 ha)|
|Types of zoning||Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI|
Major conservation values
- Ecosystems, habitats and communities associated with the Western Bass Strait Shelf Transition and the Bass Strait Shelf Province and associated with the sea-floor features: deep/hole/valley and shelf
- Important migration area for: blue, fin, sei and humpback whales
- Important foraging area for: black-browed and shy albatross, Australasian gannet, short-tailed shearwater, and crested tern
- Cultural and heritage site: wreck of the MV City of Rayville
The Apollo Commonwealth Marine Reserve represents the continental shelf that extends from South Australia to the west of Tasmania.
The cool waters of the reserve are less than 50 m deep near Cape Otway. The reserve includes the Otway Depression, a 100 m deep undersea valley joining the Bass Basin to the open ocean. This valley was an outlet channel for the ancient Bass Lake and mainland river systems, which existed during the last ice age.
The waters of the reserve are exposed to large swell waves generated from the south-west and strong tidal flows. The sea floor has many rocky reef patches interspersed with areas of sediment and, in places, has rich, benthic fauna dominated by sponges.
Seabirds, dolphins, seals and white shark forage in the reserve, and blue whales migrate through Bass Strait.
The MV City of Rayville, a United States of America freighter, which lies in the reserve south of Cape Otway, was sunk in 1940 by a mine.
All fourteen reserves in the South-east are managed under the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Management Plan 2013-23. This Management Plan sets out the zoning, allowable activities and rules for use within South-east marine reserves until 2023.
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