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Background notes 3f

3f Marine reserves

flowers fish sponge sea pens seaweed pink sea plant life yellow plant sea life

Wondering what the above
pictures are of? Find out on
our Marine Reserves
web pages

It is just as important to protect special marine environments as it is to look after our special places on the land.

In December 1996, people from around Tasmania met to discuss the case for establishing new marine reserves. All major users of the marine environment were invited to send representatives to this meeting. The 25 delegates established the major values and issues of developing marine reserves in Tasmania.

Ten Key Objectives of Marine Reserves

Ten key objectives of marine reserves have been identified as being very important:

  • Promote ocean health
  • Protect representative samples of coastline for biodiversity and habitat
  • Maintain fish species and genetic biodiversity
  • Protect scientific and ecological sites and values.
  • Fish reproduction and recruitment (movement from reserve to nearby areas)
  • Protect threatened species
  • Provide scientific reference areas
  • Public education value
  • Enhance tourism and recreation opportunities
  • Protect historic and cultural values.

A closer look at some key objectives

Conservation of marine biodiversity

This is seen as important to:

  • preserve all the major different habitats of our coast
  • allow communities of fishes and other animals and plants to develop without being disturbed
  • protect threatened species
  • act as a reservoir of biodiversity (different species)
  • act as insurance for future generations

Scientific research

This is important to:

  • act as a comparison with non-protected areas
  • enable research in areas undisturbed by fishing
  • allow the study of the impacts of particular activities, such as diving, in sensitive areas

Education and promotion

This is important to:

  • promote responsible use and develop conservation values
  • increase knowledge of marine environment and organisms
  • provide a useful educational resource for self-education by general public, and for formal education

Protection of wilderness area values

This is important in order to:

  • have marine areas that are free of human influence
  • enhance our World Heritage Area and National Park status

Fisheries management

Reserves are important to:

  • allow study of organisms in a protected untouched area. This gives us baseline data that can be compared with areas where fishing is allowed.
  • provide a reservoir of mature organisms with high potential to reproduce and supply young to nearby areas
  • provide recruitment of mature individuals to nearby areas for harvesting
  • maintain fish stocks in case of a fishery collapse caused by over-fishing
  • enable suitable environmental management of sensitive marine areas
  • enable the effects of water catchment and land management to be more easily seen in the marine environment (river water, drain water, sewage etc. all have an effect).

Tourism and recreation

This is important to:

  • increase the attractiveness of Tasmania for ecotourism – the concept of wilderness attracts tourists even though they may spend only a small part of their time here in direct contact with wilderness
  • improve people’s quality of life by providing the chance to visit undisturbed and healthy marine areas
  • protect some of Tasmania’s unique places, which are not seen anywhere else in the world
  • provide attractive areas for producing documentaries – audiences prefer to see beautiful natural areas
  • add to the attractiveness of Tasmania in marketing its ‘clean, green and healthy’ image.

Reduce potential conflicts

This is important to:

  • prevent inappropriate development on our coastline
  • provide equitable access allocation – no one group can get special access and the reserve is available for everyone to enjoy.

Going further

The Parks and Wildlife Service web site provides information on Tasmania's marine reserves, as well as seals, whales, shearwaters and penguins in Tasmanian waters.