Identification of candidate sites for declaration of aquatic reserves for the conservation of rocky intertidal communities in the Hawkesbury Shelf and Batemans Shelf Bioregions
In recent decades, rocky intertidal communities in NSW have been subjected to increasing levels of human-induced disturbance via the collection of organisms for bait and food. To counter this ever-increasing pressure NSW Fisheries is currently involved in identifying candidate sites along the entire NSW coast for possible declaration as aquatic reserves to help protect the biodiversity of rocky intertidal communities. This report is the first of a series of reports documenting the results of these bioregional assessments.
The first phase of the project focussed on assessing the rocky intertidal communities in the Hawkesbury and Batemans bioregions. In doing so, the identification criteria developed for the National Reserve System of Marine Protected Areas were modified to enable the identification rocky intertidal sites worthy of protection. A rapid assessment technique involving: (1) the mapping of the rocky intertidal shores, (2) the identification of the habitats present, and (3) detailed sampling of the biota comprising these intertidal communities, was developed and utilised to identify sites with flora and fauna representative of these bioregions. Analysis of the data suggested that 3 rocky intertidal shores (Toowoon Point, Tudibaring Head and Brickyard Point) of the 182 rocky shores in the Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion and 5 rocky intertidal shores (Bombo Head, Inyadda Point, Preservation Point, Warden Head and Wagonga Head) of 208 rocky shores in the Batemans Shelf bioregion be considered as candidate sites for declaration as Aquatic Reserves.
This ongoing project forms part of the NSW government's commitment to the Commonwealth Government's Strategic Plan of Action for the development of a National Reserve System of Marine Protected Areas.