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Moreton Bay Marine Ecology

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ________________ Contents Page Contents Introduction 2 Argument 1: Biotic Factors 3 Biodiversity 3 Indicator Species 5 Argument 2: Abiotic Factors 6 Sediment Life and Sediment Size 6 Water Temperature 8 Recommendation 9 Conclusion 10 Appendix 10 12 Bibliography 20 ________________ Introduction Moreton Bay Marine Park is made up of islands, open oceans and reefs covering more than 3400 km2, and is one of the least troubled coastal environments along the Queensland coast (About Moreton Bay, 2015). Over the past 150 years, Moreton Bay has been taken advantage of and has been used for sand mining, coral mining, whaling and fishing, and has become increasingly polluted from the coastal development of surrounding areas (Winton, Moreton Bay Marine Park, 2017). In 1993, the first Marine Park was opened in the area of Moreton Bay, which although was a big step towards the preservation of vulnerable marine species and their habitats, it left 99% of the bay open to fishing. In 2009, a new zoning plan was released for Moreton Bay, meaning that 16% of the bay is now a designated marine national park zone, and a further 8% has a conservation status for recreational and commercial activities (Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008, 2004). https://image.issuu.com/110518022348-415a513325c84d99b643ee4a562e246a/jpg/page_1.jpg Marine reserves are areas inside a marine park that exclude all extractive activities and are mainly managed for the conservation of their ecosystems, habitats and the marine life they support (Why marine reserves are important, 2015). In Australia, Marine reserves are multi-use areas and allow a wide range of activities according to different zones (Winton, Marine Parks, 2017). The benefits of Green Zones include; protecting spawning areas and nursery grounds, providing refuge for protected species, boost species numbers, increasing the abundance of fish, minimising damage to important habitats and building the resilience of the reef against certain threats such as water pollution or climate change (Zoning, Permits and Plans, 2016). ...read more.

Middle

This may affect the data reliability due to the environmental factors such as tide, time of day and weather, and factors such as how many fishing boats are nearby, and on the 15/5 multiple fishing boats were seen at Green Island. A final factor which may have caused a decrease in the amount of fish seen at either Green Island or Saint Helena Island is the location of the site around Green and Saint Helena Island, as disturbances from the main land such as fishing boats, pollution and recreational activities. On the other hand, abundance of species may be greater on the east side of either Island as there is less human impact to affect fish species. Indicator Species Indicator species are organisms that reflect a specific environmental condition or change in the environment through their presence, absence or abundance (Encyclopedia of Life). They can be used to signal any changes in the environment and may also be used to analyse the health of the Saint Helena Island and Green Island ecosystem, and therefore is useful in supporting the recommendation of extending the current Green Zone at the Moreton Bay Marine Park. To allow closer evaluation, the indicator species chosen is Snapper, and its abundance and average size at both Green Island and Saint Helena Island will be analysed to show the effect of indicator species on the fish stock population of Moreton Bay. Appendix 9 shows the N.Max of snapper in both GI and SH that were seen in the BRUV (baited remoted underwater video), and Appendix 10 shows the average size of the snapper across the sites seen in 2016, and it is clearly seen that in Saint Helena Island the average size of Snapper is larger than the average size of Snapper at Green Island. This may be due to the fact that fish such as the Snapper are affected by size-selective fishing methods, which have applied a ?culling? or ?cropping off? effect (The Effects on Fish stocks of Fishing/Overfishing and other human activities -- how do opposing theories compare to the "Starvation" theory? ...read more.

Conclusion

Along with the deliberate illegal fishermen, there are also recreational fishermen including tourists who may not know that Green Island and Saint Helena Islands are Green Zones, so the implementation of a marking system such as buoys to show the fishermen that they are entering a Green zone would be beneficial. In order for the Green Zone to be most effective, it is also recommended that there is an addition of a no anchoring zone throughout the Green Zone, as anchoring causes damage to seagrass, coral and bottom dwelling animals which are essential to the health of the ecosystem (Frequently Asked Questions , 2017). Without the implementation of the Green zone, the abundance of fish species and the health of the Green Island ecosystem may continue to decrease and cause dramatic repercussions. The extension of the green zone, along with the implementation of the no-anchoring zone would be extremely beneficial for protecting the important habitat, providing refugee for protected species and increasing the abundance of all fish species which would also benefit the food web (What are the benefits of Marine National Parks and Green Zones, 2017). Without the implementation of the Green zone, the abundance of fish species and the health of the Green Island ecosystem may continue to decrease and cause dramatic repercussions. Conclusion Through the collection, organisation and analysis of primary and secondary data and the evaluation of fish stock population and both Saint Helena and Green Islands current and past health, extending the current Green Zone is the most justifiable and responsible decision to present to the Queensland Government. The extension of the Green Zone will have a positive effect on Green Island?s species, abundance of species and its ecosystem, meaning that it will be protected from the damaging effects of fishing, and other human activities. Through the recommendation, both the present and future ecosystem will be greatly benefited and overtime, a clear improvement in both Saint Helena Island and Green Island will be observed. ...read more.

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