Bays receive good news in first ‘health check’
The Andrews Labor Government’s first health check for the iconic Port Phillip Bay and Western Port is complete following the launch of State of the Bays 2016.
The report is a baseline study of the health of both bays, giving a timely stocktake of the current knowledge of ecosystems, habitats and species. It also analyses water quality, seagrass and fish species.
It found that water quality was generally good across most indicators and despite their proximity to major urban centres and significant development catchments, both Port Phillip Bay and Western Port have healthy marine ecosystems.
The report presents 50 assessments against 36 indicators across the themes of species including birds and fish, habitats including seagrass and rocky reefs, and critical ecosystem functions including nutrient cycling.
The vast majority of assessments indicate that species, habitats and ecosystems are healthy and operating as expected.
It also provides recommendations on tools and knowledge gaps, ensuring that government agencies work effectively with stakeholders and the community under an adaptive management framework to monitor the right marine health indicators in the future.
The report can be found at www.stateofthebays.vic.gov.au
Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“This is a critical piece of work to help us better understand the challenges we face in protecting our bays in the face of a changing climate.”
Quote attributable to Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Dr Gillian Sparkes
“This is an important stocktake on the health of Port Phillip Bay and Western Port and an integral part of developing an ecosystem-wide approach to the management of our waterways.”