« South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network
||Beagle Commonwealth Marine Reserve
||28 June 2007 (effective 3 September 2007)
|Types of zoning
||VI – Multiple Use Zone
|Management plan status
|| Interim management arrangements
Covering 2,928 square kilometres of Commonwealth ocean territory, the Beagle Commonwealth Marine Reserve is situated entirely within the shallow Bass Strait, mostly 50 to 70 m depths, with its north-western edge abutting Victorian waters to the south-east of Wilson’s Promontory.
The Beagle Commonwealth Marine Reserve represents an area of shallow continental shelf ecosystems in the major biological zone that extends around south-eastern Australia to the east of Tasmania. It covers sea floor that is thought to have formed a land bridge with Tasmania as recently as 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.
The reserve encompasses the fauna of central Bass Strait which is expected to be especially rich based on studies of several sea floor dwelling animal groups. Its boundary encloses the Kent Group Marine Reserve declared by the Tasmanian Government, as well as the Hogan and Curtis Island groups. Its ecosystems are similar to those documented for the deeper sections of the Kent Group Marine Reserve, especially those based around habitats of rocky reefs supporting beds of encrusting, erect and branching sponges, and sediment composed of shell grit with patches of variously large sponges and sparse sponge-habitats.
Beagle Commonwealth Marine Reserve is a shallow reserve that surrounds a collection of Bass Strait islands. The deep rocky reefs support a rich array of life, and the area provides homes and feeding grounds for seabirds, little penguins and Australian fur seals. The reserve is located near the Hunter group of islands which is an important breeding area for the fairy prion, shy albatross, silver gull, short tailed shearwater, black faced cormorant, Australian gannet, common diving petrel and little penguins.