Tasmania has approximately 5 400 kilometres of coastline – more coastline per unit area than any other State in Australia.
The geographical position and varying climatic conditions of Tasmania, together with the influence of ocean currents, combine to produce a marine environment recognised as one of the most biologically diverse in the world. This rich variety of marine life includes kelp forests, seagrass beds and sponge gardens each with their own communities of fish and invertebrates, including a range of special creatures from sea dragons and fairy penguins to great white sharks and migrating whales. Tasmanian waters include a province with the highest known marine plant diversity in the world.
The temperate south marine environment surrounding Tasmania has been geographically and climatically isolated for around 35 million years. About 80–90% of species of most marine groups are endemic, compared to only 10% of species in most groups in northern tropical waters. As a result, the marine environment of Tasmania and similar southern areas is in many ways more significant in world terms than tropical areas such as the Great Barrier Reef.
The Tasmanian Government’s marine conservation strategy of the early 1990s has expanded to more fully protect the marine environment of Tasmania, in the development of the Tasmanian Marine Protected Areas Strategy 2001. The Strategy provides a systematic and formal approach to protecting Tasmania’s marine environment.
Marine Science Manager