French Island Marine National Park
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- Established:November 2002
Located 10km south of Tooradin, French Island Marine National Park is adjacent to the northern shoreline of French Island National Park in Western Port. Extending 15km along the shoreline, the park encompasses approximately 2800ha. It includes one of Victoria’s most extensive areas of saltmarsh and mangrove communities and also includes mudflats of state geomorphological significance.
The tidal channel system of varying depths, profiles and orientations, contributes to the high diversity of habitats, including many seagrass beds in the surrounding waters. These seagrass beds are particularly important as they have largely disappeared in other areas of the bay since the 1950s.
These habitats are important feeding and roosting grounds for the 32 migratory wader bird species found in Western Port. Including these migratory birds, 295 bird species have been spotted in Western Port including Black Swans, Pied Oystercatchers and Royal Spoonbills. French Island Marine National Park is part of the Western Port RAMSAR site.
In addition to the bird life, there is a rich diversity of marine life. The seagrass beds support many commercially viable species such as King George Whiting, Black Bream and Yellow-eyed Mullet. The mudflats support a wide variety of benthic animals such as worms and bivalves. These animals are important for nutrient cycling because they convert the detritus of the bay into animal tissue which is fed upon by birds and fishes.
The only way to access French Island Marine National Park is via boat (closest launching points at Tooradin or Warneet).
Aboriginal Traditional Owners
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters.