JOL – Week 13. Marine Conservation & Habitat Mapping.

Marine Conservation & Habitat Mapping.
Find an example of a pipefish that is classified by the IUCN Red List as critically endangered and one that is least concern. Explain how differences in the biology of the two species might contribute to differences in their status, and on what basis the classifications were made.

Least Concern: Cosmocampus arctus – Snubnose Pipefish.

Critically endangered: Syngnathus watermeyeri – River Pipefish.

Differences in biology: Snub-nose pipe fish prefer marine environments such as coral reefs and rocky outcrops. River pipe fish prefer the estuary environment (Brackish waters) and can survive in both fresh and marine water environments.

This may contribute to their differences in the way that they inhabit different environments and so have different predators and different sources of food. River pipe fish rely heavily on the Eelgrass that makes up their habitat and zoo plankton to eat.

These classifications were made on the basis that there are a large number of Snubnose pipe fish in the wild, as they have minimal predators and no loss of habitat. The Rover pipe fish is considered critically endangered due to the building of dams that have destroyed the habitat and water circulations required for the River pipe fish to eat and live.

Identify two marine species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable in NSW, and explain why the species is listed as such.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark – Sphyrna lewini – ENDANGERED.
The Scalloped Hammerhead shark is considered to be a endangered species for the following reasons;

·      Poor recovery ability.

·      Large amount of fishing of this species.

·      Fishing of juveniles by gill-nets and trawl nets.

·      Fishing of adults by gill-nets.

·      Shark fins (large and valuable) & meat for eating and medicine.


Great White Shark – Carcharadon carcharias – VULNERABLE.
The Great white shark is considered to be a vulnerable species for the following reasons;

  • Females do not produce offspring till they are of a certain maturity.
  • They do not produce offspring every year.
  • Females produce few pups.

This suggests that if they were to become endangered it would take a long time for the species to recover.

  • Decline in species due to commercial fishing and entanglement in mesh netting.

In your blog, summarize how no-take zones work and when and where they are most effective.

No take zones work in the way that all commercial and recreational fishing is prohibited. This means that no animals are allowed to be removed from the waters in these areas.

They are instigated by the government to help protect certain ecosystems and environments. They are largely found in marine protected areas such as Marine parks and reserves. These areas already have moderated human activity to preserve the ecosystems and environment. The no take zones takes it one step further and bans all extraction of resources from that area.

In your blog, summarize the three types of zone present in NSW marine parks, and what types of activity are allowed within each. How are the three types of zoning distributed relative to one another, and why do you think this is the case?

The three zones include:

General Use zones, Habitat protection zones and Sanctuary zones.

The types of activities allowed in each area include: (As per Information from Jervis Bay marine park)

General Use Zones Habitat Protection Zones Sanctuary Zones
Line Fishing Line Fishing Boating
Prawn hauling Scallop Collecting Snorkeling/ Scuba diving
Spearfishing Spearfishing
Collecting for bait/food Collecting for bait/food
Boating Boating
Snorkeling/Scuba diving Snorkeling/Scuba diving
Anchoring Anchoring

For research, collecting for science or research, whale watching and spearfishing/sailing competitions permits are required.

They are distributed relatively differently. There are minimal areas for General use and much more Habitat Protection zone than Sanctuary Zone. I believe this is the case as it is a national park that is home to a large number of different marine creatures. Its where Port Jackson sharks, Hammerhead sharks and Bronze Whaler sharks come to mate and breed, Its home to a number of seal colonies, whales pass through during their migration season. The zones are put in place to preserve these environments and protect the species that use the bay.

The General use areas, are provide so people can still participate in the activities they like to do when at the beach, but provides a guideline and rules that minimalize the effects of these activities on the wildlife within the bay.

Using the maps, describe the distribution of key habitats in two NSW estuaries of your choosing. Explain how these habitats might contribute to the ecosystem services provided by the estuary.

Wamberal, Terrigal, Avoca and Cockrone Lakes: Provides two large habitats for Ruppia (A type of marine plant also knows as ditch grasses or widgeon grass). Does not show any other types of habitat.

Moruya River and Congo Creek: Shows a number of different habitats including Saltmarsh, Zostera (sea grass), Halophila (Sea grass) and Mangroves.

These habitats may contribute to the ecosystem services in the form of:

  • Habitat – Different types of places for different species to live – i.e mangroves.
  • Food – Sea grasses/marine plants provide food and shelter for marine organisms & humans.
  • Materials – Mangroves used for building etc.






Letter 2 – Managers View.


Dear Stakeholders,


Firstly I appreciate the correspondence received in regards to the Proposal to permit the cultivation of triploid Pacific oysters in NSW estuaries. Your views and concerns have been reviewed. You are receiving this letter to help provide an understanding of the situation and the decisions that have been made at this current time.


The devastation that QX disease has caused throughout the Hawkesbury river region is a primary concern. Hawkesbury river oyster farmers produce over half of all NSW oysters. It’s incredibly important not only on an ecological standpoint but also from an economic position to take all necessary measures to not only look into preventing QX but also other alternatives to keep the Hawkesbury river oyster industry alive.


Previously researchers have looked into disease prevention strategies for QX disease. This incorporated the use of disease zoning to help control spread. However due to the multiple factors that fuel QX, such as environmental stressors as well as the parasite Marteilia sydneyi, the disease continued to spread throughout the region. There was also an implication as spat is required to be transferred between estuaries in order to increase populations. This enabled the QX disease to spread further and faster than anticipated.


The proposal to permit the cultivation of triploid Pacific oysters in NSW is the next step in helping to get oyster farmers back on their feet. As expressed through your correspondence there were many concerns in regards to the introduction of this species in NSW estuaries such as the possibility that Pacific oysters could become reproductively capable. Farmers will be provided with literature in regards to maintaining their farms and fisheries officials will monitor the farms for the first 4 years of cultivation. With effective management the prevention of uncontrolled spread should not be a long-term problem.


The benefits for this proposal far outweigh the concerns in this instance. Summarized below are the main key benefits that have shaped the decision to implement this permit.

  • At this present time the cultivation of Pacific oysters in the Port Stevens region has been a success. There have been no major ecological impacts in regards to cultivating this species observed to date.
  • As Hawkesbury River oysters are such a large percentage of commercial farmed oysters in NSW it is important to find an alternative with proven resistance to mass mortality diseases such as QX and Winter mortality. The Pacific oyster is resistant to both of these diseases.
  • Pacific oysters are found to be 4.1% heavier, have a higher dry meat and condition index than Sydney Rock Oysters after a period of 2.5 years of growth. This indicates a fast growing, possibly larger product than previously grown, with a high standard of quality.
  • Pacific oysters grow to the standard market size 6-18 months faster than Sydney Rock Oysters, providing a larger supply to customer demand.
  • Oyster farmers have the potential to earn a higher living, as these oysters can be cultivated all year without any disease related disturbances. Farmers also have the potential to reduce overall costs in regards to disease prevention and loss of income due to outbreak.




It is with great consideration and intensive research that this next step in oyster disease control is implemented in the Hawkesbury river region. The underlying factor is that without the introduction of Pacific oysters, the Hawkesbury River oyster populations will inevitably die out. This would not only be a major loss to the income and livelihood of oyster farmers in the region but also to the estuary environment and consumer.






Mr Neill Blair,

Minister for NSW Department of Primary Industries.

20th May 2015.




Fisheries NSW

Port Stephens Fisheries Institute

Locked Bag 1, NELSON BAY NSW 2315

Tel: 024982-1232 Fax: 02 4982 1107

ABN 72 189 919 072



  1. Green, T., Raftos, D., O’Connor, W., Adlard, R.D., Barnes, A.C., 2011. Disease Prevention Strategies for QX Disease (Marteilia sydneyi) of Sydney Rock Oysters (Saccostrea glomerata). Journal of Shellfish Research, Vol 30, pp.47-53.
  2. Nell, J.A., Cox, E., Smith, I.R., Maguire, G.B., 1994. Studies on triploid oysters in Australia. I. The farming potential of triploid Sydney rock oysters Saccostrea commercialis (Iredale and Roughley). Aquaculture, Vol 136, pp. 243-245.



First Blog

  • What did you do over Christmas?

Over Christmas I traveled to Dorrigo Mountain, Which is located about 5 hours drive North & inland. This river was suppose to be full of trout and a great spot to go fishing, however not so much when we got there.

I also spent a few weeks working in the labs at Macquarie with a PHD student studying Australian & New Zealand fur seals. We spent two weeks in the labs cutting up seal whiskers to be sent away and tested for stable isotopes. This was to determine what that seal had been eating over a certain period of time.


  • What do you want to get out of this unit?

I find the idea of this unit incredibly interesting. I love the marine environment & all its creatures and helping to maintain & advocate for their survival means a lot to me. Learning about Environmental issues that surround these habitats and creatures can only help to protect them.

  • What is your favourite animal and why?

My favourite animal is a shark. Any shark, im not too fussy about species. I’ve always been fascinated by their strength and “horror story” image. I find them to be incredible animals & aim to learn as much as I possibly can about them.


  • What do you want to do after finishing your degree?

After finishing my bachelor of Marine Biology, I’d like to look into further study in the way of Masters & PHD. I like the idea of conservation and looking into the effects of captivity on different marine species and how their lives differ from being in the wild, where they belong.