Murray Commonwealth Marine Reserve

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Overview

Overview of Murray Commonwealth Marine Reserve
Area 25 803 km2 (2 580 300 ha)
Types of zoning Marine National Park Zone - IUCN Category II (12 749 km2)
Special Purpose Zone - IUCN Category VI (7 147 km2)
Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI (5 907 km2)

Major conservation values

  • Examples of ecosystems, habitats and communities associated with the Spencer Gulf Shelf Province,. the Southern Province and the West Tasmanian Transition and associated with the sea-floor features: abyssal plain/deep ocean floor, canyon, escarpment, knoll/abyssal hill, shelf, slope and terrace
  • Features with high biodiversity and productivity: Bonney coast upwelling, shelf rocky reefs and hard substrate
  • Important foraging areas for: blue, sei and fin whales, Australian sea lion, wandering, black-browed, yellow-nosed and shy albatrosses, great-winged petrels, flesh-footed and short-tailed shearwaters, and white-faced storm petrel
  • Important breeding area for: southern right whale
  • Important migration area for: humpback whale.

General description

The Murray Commonwealth Marine Reserve spans an extensive area across the Lacepede Shelf, continental slope and deeper water ecosystems that extend from South Australia to Tasmania. The reserve contains the Murray Canyon, which is considered one of the most spectacular geological formations on the Australian continent margin. The canyon is deeper than America's Grand Canyon, descending to 4600 m below sea level and stretching for more than 150 km.

The reserve protects samples of the key features in the area, including continental shelf and slope, abyssal plain and Sprigg Canyon.

The reserve is important for many marine species, including those migrating through its inshore waters. The southern right whale uses the inshore area of the reserve to nurse its young. Offshore, many seabird species can be seen foraging.

Upwelling of nutrient-rich water occurs in the reserve, although these upwellings are less strong than to the east where they are known as the Bonney Upwelling. Blue whales have been sighted on several occasions in the reserve. White shark also forage in the reserve.

Management arrangements

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.

Maps

 

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Map of Murray Commonwealth Marine Reserve - click to enlarge

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Map of the Murray Commonwealth Marine Reserve (PDF - 280.64 KB)