The Macquarie Island Marine Reserve occupies all of Macquarie Island's State waters from 0-3 nautical miles outward, and is proclaimed under Tasmania's Nature Conservation Act 2002
and the Fisheries Rules 1999.
The reserve is about 75,000 ha in size.
The island and surrounding area are unique in their geological characteristics. It is the only known location where oceanic crust, from a normal mid-ocean ridge, has been lifted above sea level in a major oceanic basin. Moreover, its overall north-south trend means that it acts as a major barrier to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the earth's largest and most important oceanic current, which flows eastward about the Antarctic landmass. This impacts on the balance of oceanic and atmospheric heat and chemical exchange, which in turn has an effect on the southern hemisphere's weather patterns.
A number of species found in the Macquarie Island region, including five albatross species, four penguin species and two seal species, are under local or global threat. Protection of their critical feeding and migratory areas has international significance because most of these species require extremely large migratory or foraging ranges.
The Macquarie Island World Heritage Area includes all terrestrial areas, all of the state marine reserve, and all federal waters from 3-12 nautical miles offshore (including those parts of the Commonwealth marine park that are between 3-12 nautical miles).
The Macquarie Island Marine Park
The Commonwealth Macquarie Island Marine Park occupies a proportion of the Federal waters 3-200 nautical miles outward from the coast of Macquarie Island and its offshore islands, and is proclaimed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Commonwealth park is about 16.2 million ha and is one of the largest marine reserves in the world. The Commonwealth marine park does not completely surround the Tasmanian marine reserve, as only a portion of Macquarie Island's federal (3-200 nautical miles) waters are protected as marine park.
A detailed plan showing the boundaries of the reserve is available.
Further details of the Macquarie Island Marine Park are available on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage web site.