Week 4: Information series for the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report

The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability is exploring the themes from Victoria’s first State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report, over nine weeks. This week, we dive underwater to explore the report’s Seafloor theme
The report shines a light on the health of our marine and coastal environments. It reinforces the need for a catchment to reefs approach to our policy and program interventions to protect and improve Victoria’s coastal and marine environments.

Dr Gillian Sparkes AM said, “Seagrass meadows are critical habitat for marine species. Seagrass meadows protect Victoria’s shorelines and even store significant amounts of carbon".

Key findings about Victoria's seafloor

  • Considerable seagrass loss has been observed in Port Phillip Bay, Western Port, and Corner Inlet.
  • Macroalgae are an important source of food and habitat for many marine species. The condition and extent of macroalgae on subtidal reefs in Port Phillip Bay has been assessed as poor for Point Cooke and Jawbone marine sanctuaries, fair for Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, and good for Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park.
  • Macroalgae has been under threat in Cape Howe Marine National Park and Beware Reef Marine National Park.
  • Golden kelp has declined in Point Addis Marine National Park since 2012.  
  • Shellfish reefs provide valuable ecosystem services including fish production, coastal protection, erosion mitigation and nutrient cycling. The extent of shellfish reefs in Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Corner Inlet is now minimal. The status of the shellfish reefs indicator has been rated as poor.

What do you know about the seafloor?

Did you know that Port Phillip Bay was once home to large areas of native flat oyster and blue mussel reefs?  Discover how The Nature Conservancy is bringing back Port Phillip’s lost shellfish reefs.

For over a decade, Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary has experienced overgrazing by the overabundant long-spined sea urchin. Learn about how Parks Victoria is supporting the recovery of Beware Reefs underwater forests

Corner Inlet’s broadleaf seagrass habitat supports a diverse range of species. Read about catchment works protecting critical Corner Inlet seagrass meadows.

More information