Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve
|Area||27 043 km2 (2 704 300 ha)|
|Types of zoning||Marine National Park Zone - IUCN Category II (25 812 km2)
Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI (1231 km2)
Major conservation values
- Examples of ecosystems, habitats and communities associated with the Tasmania Province, the Tasmanian Shelf Province, the Southeast Transition and the Southeast Shelf Transition and associated with the sea-floor features: abyssal plain/deep ocean floor, canyon, plateau, seamount/guyot, shelf and slope
- Features with high biodiversity and productivity: east Tasmania subtropical convergence zone
- Important foraging area for: wandering, black-browed, yellow-nosed and shy albatrosses, northern giant petrel, Gould's petrel and cape petrel, killer whale, white shark and Harrison's dogfish
- Important migration area for: humpback whale.
The Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve covers a depth range from about 40 m on the shallow continental shelf to abyssal depths of 3000 m or more near the edge of Australia's exclusive economic zone.
Key features of this area are the continental shelf, and a long section of steep continental slope, incised by a series of deep submarine canyons. Sea bottom habitats include sheer rocky walls and large rocky outcrops that support a rich diversity of small seabed animals, such as lace corals and sponges. These and the large expanses of sandy and muddy sediments are habitats to a wide variety of fishes and to populations of the giant crab.
Areas between 400 m and 600 m of the continental slope sea floor are habitat for dogfish and gulper sharks, and Harrison's dogfish has been recently recorded in the reserve.
The biodiversity of the reserve is influenced by summer incursions of the warm East Australian Current and associated large-scale eddies.
Another prominent feature is a large offshore seamount believed to be too deep to have been fished. Seamounts are generally considered to be important centres of deep ocean biodiversity, offering 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 endemic species.
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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