||Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve
||28 June 2007 (effective 3 September 2007)
|Types of zoning
||VI – Multiple Use Zone – 9,602 km2
1a – Benthic Sanctuary – 389 km2
|Management plan status
|| Interim management arrangements
The Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve covers about 9,991 square kilometres of Commonwealth ocean territory to the south of Tasmania. It covers a broad depth range from the inner continental shelf in about 70 metres to the abyss in over 3,000 metres. The majority of the area is in deep water.
Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve contains a remarkable cluster of cone-shaped submerged mountains (seamounts), which are habitat for a diverse number plants and animals. On the seabed you’ll find large a large number of endemic species and large erect corals and sponges. Some of the flora and fauna are hundreds and possibly thousands of years old making them some of the longest-lived animals on earth.
The Tasman Seamounts Marine Reserve that was proclaimed in 1999 and covers a small part of this area, was revoked on the 28th of June 2007 and wholly incorporated into the Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve.
The Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve spans the continental shelf, continental slope and deeper water ecosystems of a primary biological zone to the south of Tasmania. It’s most remarkable feature is the cluster cone-shaped submerged seamounts. Their natural values are defined by a rich seabed fauna characterised by high numbers of species found nowhere else and the presence of large, erect seabed animals including habitat-forming corals and sponges. Some of these are extremely long-lived – hundreds and possibly thousands of years old – making them some of the longest-lived animals on earth.
Seamounts are regarded as areas of increased productivity in the otherwise nutrient-poor open ocean. Their topography accelerates water currents, which provide a consistent and relatively rich food source for filter-feeders, and sweep the seamounts clear of fine sediments to expose rocks that provide a firm substrate for attached animals such as corals.
Many Huon seamounts rise into the top 1000 metres of the water column to intercept the ‘deep scattering layers’ – mid-water communities composed mostly of tiny fishes, squids, and crustaceans – that drift past. In certain locations seamounts are believed to provide stepping stones in trans-oceanic dispersal of the microscopic organism larvae of sea bottom dwelling species. The seamounts of the Huon Marine Reserve provide an important connection between seamounts of the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea.
This reserve is extensive, ranging from 70 to 3000 metres below sea level. Close to the shore seabirds and school sharks can be found, while further into the open ocean the seabed is made up of deep plains which are broken up by submerged mountains. A diverse range of fish, coral, squid, crabs and other animals make these seamounts their home.
The Huon Commonwealth Marine Reserve includes an area of continental shelf and slope known to be important foraging habitat for the Australian gannet, shy albatross, silver gull from adjacent nesting areas, and based on distribution of their larvae, is also known to provide spawning or nursery areas for important commercial fishes including the ocean perch and blue warehou. Other offshore geological features include terraces, rotated continental blocks, saddles, pinnacles and canyons which are believed to be characterised by unique fauna.