Bay fish sightings point to healthy Marine National Park
Wednesday 16 April, 2014
The discovery of increasing numbers of the rare western blue groper in the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park is one of a number of encouraging signs that reefs in this protected marine environment are in very good condition.
Previous surveys by Australian Marine Ecology and Reef Life Survey, a national marine citizen science program, have recorded small but growing numbers of the blue groper in the park. One Reef Life Survey diver, Don Love, saw a large male blue groper with a harem of smaller females.
“Finding these fish and others like magpie perch, western blue devils, senator wrasse, magpie perch and warty prowfish, as well as healthy invertebrates like crabs and lobsters, is really encouraging,” says Parks Victoria Ranger, Steve Tuohy.
“The diving teams also surveyed around Popes Eye, Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean. The fact that there are now larger populations of bigger fish around Popes Eye is just one of the benefits of this location being protected since the 1970s.”
“Underwater reef surveys in the bay have been running since 1998, before Victoria’s marine national parks were declared, and are part of Parks Victoria’s state-wide marine monitoring program,” says Dr Steffan Howe, Marine Science Manager with Parks Victoria.
“There is a history of regular surveys in this and other parks so we can compare these new findings with those from the past and assess the ongoing health of the marine life on our reefs.”
“We would also welcome more photographs of blue gropers taken in our Marine Protected Areas. These can be posted on the Parks Victoria Facebook page. The more information we have about the creatures and plants in these special places, the better we can manage them.”
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