Why is Long Reef an aquatic reserve


Hormosira flats at low tide with deeper pool

Long Reef has a wide variety of aquatic habitats:

  • from high tide to below low tide
  • different materials such as sand, rocky reef and boulder fields
  • different exposure to waves such as surf-exposed ledges and sheltered rock pools.

This means there is also a wide variety of seashore animals and plants that use these different habitats.

Long Reef was described by Isobel Bennett AO, one of Australia’s pioneering marine biologists, as a ‘living museum’.

Isobel Bennett AO

By the 1970s Long Reef’s aquatic flora and fauna had become seriously depleted due to intensive collection for food and bait.

In 1974 a scientific team from the Australian Museum, including Isobel Bennett AO, Elizabeth Pope and Phil Colman began a campaign to protect Long Reef for scientific research and education.

Long Reef was declared an aquatic reserve in 1980

Forty years on, Long Reef has been the site of numerous scientific studies and is visited each year by thousands of school children, university students and the public, learning about intertidal animals and plants.

Hydatina physis

Objectives for Long Reef Aquatic Reserve

  • conserve the biodiversity of seashore animals and plants
  • protect habitat
  • facilitate educational activities
  • facilitate scientific research.

Many other activities can be enjoyed at Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, including snorkelling, diving, line fishing and spearfishing for finfish (fish with a backbone), surfing, boating, exploring the rock platform or just taking in the beauty of the area.

 Zostera and Hormorsira