Marine Bioregional Planning

Coral Sea Conservation Zone

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The Coral Sea Conservation Zone covers 989,842 km and includes Commonwealth waters and seabed east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, out to the edge of Australias EEZ. It covers 40 per cent of the East Marine Region.

The Government set up the Coral Sea Conservation Zone (CSCZ) in 2009 as an interim measure to protect this near-pristine area while a detailed assessment of the region is undertaken.

The CSCZ will be assessed as a whole consistent with the marine bioregional planning process; which will include extensive stakeholder consultation.

The declaration of the Coral Sea Conservation Zone has not stopped existing activities in the region.

While the Coral Sea Conservation Zone will be assessed as a whole, there is no plan to establish it as one large no-take marine park.

Detailed information about the Coral Sea Conservation Zone

The Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reef National Nature Reserves are within the bounds of the Coral Sea Conservation Zone (CSCZ), while the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is adjacent to the western boundary.

There are six provincial bioregions represented in the CSCZ: Cape Province; Northeast Transition; Northeast Province; Kenn Province, Kenn Transition and Central Eastern Transition. These bioregions are representative of endemic demersal fish species as well as mixing areas (or transitions) that capture the overlap of the species ranges.

The CSCZ includes regionally important biodiversity, areas of enhanced productivity, aggregations of marine life and provides ecological connectivity between the South Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef. The only recognised spawning aggregation of black marlin in the Pacific Ocean, occurring in the vicinity of the Ribbon Reefs north of Cairns, is included in the CSCZ. A range of seafloor features including seamounts, coral reefs, and canyons are represented in the area.

Coral Sea Conservation Zone

THE PROPOSED CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES FOR RESERVE(S) ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE CORAL SEA CONSERVATION ZONE ARE:

1. representation of the following provincial bioregions: Cape Province; Northeast Transition; Northeast Province; Kenn Province, Kenn Transition and Central Eastern Transition

2. protection of seafloor features (e.g. seamounts, atolls, plateaus, deep sea plains and canyons) and associated ecological processes and biodiversity across a range of depths

3. protection of diverse reefs and cays of the Coral Sea and herbivorous fish of coral reefs

4. protection of offshore chains of seamounts and rises

5. maintenance of ecological connectivity between the South Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef.

Disclaimer
The contents of this document have been compiled using a range of source materials and is valid as at March 2010. The Australian Government is not liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of or reliance on the contents of the document.
MAR30.0310

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