Zeehan Commonwealth Marine Reserve
|Area||19 897 km2 (1 989 700 ha)|
|Types of zoning||Special Purpose Zone - IUCN Category VI (18 967 km2)
Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI (933 km2)
Major conservation values
- Examples of ecosystems, habitats and communities associated with the Tasmania Province, the West Tasmania Transition and the Western Bass Strait Shelf Transition and associated with the sea-floor features: abyssal plain/deep ocean floor, canyon, deep/hole/valley, knoll/abyssal hill, shelf and slope
- Important migration area for: blue and humpback whales
- Important foraging areas for: black-browed, wandering and shy albatrosses, and great-winged and cape petrels.
The Zeehan Commonwealth Marine Reserve covers a broad depth range, from the shallow continental shelf at a depth of about 50 m to the abyssal plain, which is over 3000 m deep. A significant feature of this reserve is a series of four submarine canyons that incise the continental slope, extending from the shelf edge to the abyssal plain.
Biodiversity and productivity on the outer shelf and upper slope in this reserve are influenced by the Zeehan Current and its interactions with the canyons.
The reserve includes a variety of seabed habitats, including exposed limestone, that support rich animal communities of large sponges and other, permanently fixed, invertebrates on the continental shelf. There are also extensive 'thickets' of low invertebrate animals, such as lace corals and sponges, on the continental slope. These communities are exceptionally diverse and include species new to science.
The rocky limestone provides important habitats for a variety of commercial fish species, including Australia's giant crab.
Concentrations of larval blue warehou and ocean perch indicate the area is a nursery ground. It is also a foraging area for a variety of seabirds and white shark.
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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