The Moreton Bay Marine Park is the aquatic jewel of south-east Queensland.
Bounded by 3 main islands, its azure waters covering 3400 square kilometres lap at our shoreline stretching 125km all the way south from Caloundra to the Gold Coast, but just how much do you know about this protected marine habitat?
**Let’s take a closer look at this unique aquatic haven… **
The Moreton Bay was once home to Queensland’s only whaling station opened in 1952 strategically situated at Tangalooma on Moreton Island due to the prevalence of humpback whales passing by during their annual migration season. This cruel practice saw approximately 600 whales killed each migration season with the station managing to harvest up to a maximum of 11 humpbacks per day.
**With the barbaric station becoming defunct in 1962, Tangalooma turned to tourism (incorporating parts of the whaling station into its resort) and today is renowned as a great family holidaying hot-spot offering whale watching and wild dolphin feeding encounters. **
The Moreton Bay Marine Park was officially established in 1993, 3 decades after Tangalooma’s whaling station’s closure. The park was re‐zoned in 2009 with its no-take zones (areas which prohibit direct human disturbance) expanded to cover 16% of the protected waters.
It’s coming up for review again soon in the next few years as new considerations must be addressed – of most concern are the increasing numbers of commercial and recreational fishing activities underway and rising pollution levels, a consequence of south-east Queensland’s rapidly growing population.
**Moreton Bay is valued as one of the most important marine habitats along the entire east coast of Australia. It is a transitional area in which tropical, sub‐tropical and temperate marine species co‐exist, creating distinct and harmonious wildlife and habitat communities. **
The Moreton Bay Marine Park is facing threats caused by an unpredictable climate, increasing pollution levels, extra boating traffic and more coastal development caused by south-east Queensland’s rapidly growing population.
Moreton Bay Marine Park and Pumicestone Passage are globally recognised as unique environments home to an incredible array of diverse aquatic habitats and species – from coral beds, seagrass fields, fish and crustaceans, to dugongs and turtles.
Parts of its islands and coastal regions are listed as Nationally Important Wetlands and large areas are designated as Ramsar Wetlands (which means it falls under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).
About 50,000 migratory shorebirds of at least 43 diverse species winter in Moreton Bay Marine Park annually over the non-breeding season. Some travel from as far afield as Siberia.
From October to April – through the end of Spring, all of Summer and into Autumn – over 30 different shorebird species hunker down in Moreton Bay Marine Park, feeding to restore their energy for their return flight to East Asia.
The park’s wetlands are rich in fisheries, teeming with more than 355 marine invertebrate species.
The park boasts 7 mangrove species with 55 species of associated algae, along with 7 seagrass species.