Critical Marine Habitats in High Risk Areas. Torres Strait: Moa Island to Mabuiag Island, 2010 atlas

Taylor, Helen, McCormack, Catherine, and Rasheed, Michael (2010) Critical Marine Habitats in High Risk Areas. Torres Strait: Moa Island to Mabuiag Island, 2010 atlas. Report. Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only



[Extract] Coastal marine habitats in the Torres Strait are important to island communities for subsistence as well as having strong cultural and spiritual value. Despite the remote location of the Torres Strait region, increasing pollution particularly associated with shipping activities, threatens the viability of the habitat, wildlife and in turn, the way of life for the local communities.

The ports and shipping industry is an essential component of Australia's trade and underpins the viability of many of Australia's export and import industries. Designated shipping lanes have been developed in many areas of Queensland to provide a means for large vessels to access ports. Many of these shipping lanes pass through economically and ecologically important natural habitats and are often in areas that contain significant navigation hazards. In these areas there is a heightened risk of shipping accidents including collisions and groundings of vessels that may result in oil, fuel and chemical spills. Many marine habitats such as seagrasses, algae, mangroves and coral reefs are vulnerable to oil and fuel spills, particularly when they occur in intertidal areas. In many instances there is a lack of detailed information on the marine habitats that occur adjacent to these shipping lanes (Rasheed et al. 2005).

Queensland Transport and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority completed an oil spill and shipping accident risk assessment for coastal waters of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2000 (Queensland Transport and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 2000). The risk assessment identified six marine environment high-risk areas (MEHRA's) for Queensland's shipping lanes and ports where there was a heightened risk of accidents as well as heightened consequences. The six MEHRA's identified in the risk assessment were:

1. Prince of Wales Channel (Torres Strait)

2. Great North East Channel (Torres Strait)

3. Inner Shipping Route between Cape Flattery and Torres Strait

4. Whitsunday Islands and Passages

5. Hydrographers Passage

6. Moreton Bay

With support from other agencies, including the Torres Strait Regional Authority, Fisheries Queensland's Marine Ecology Group developed a program to examine areas of these MEHRA's where there was a lack of detailed information on key marine habitats. The group has already published five atlases in the series; the Inner Shipping Route (Rasheed et al. 2005), Hydrographers Passage Shipping Channel (Rasheed et al. 2006), Prince of Whales (POW) and Adolphus Shipping Channels (Rasheed et al. 2006); central and eastern regions of the Great North East (GNE) Shipping Channel in the Torres Strait (Taylor et al. 2008), and the west and north regions of the GNE Channel (Taylor et al. 2009). In 2010, the focus in the Torres Strait was shifted to the Western Islands region, adjacent to the major GNE and POW Channels. Many ecologically and economically valuable intertidal marine habitats that occur in this area may be vulnerable to oil, fuel or chemical spills from a shipping accident and concentrated marine debris including ghost nets and derelict fishing gear. This atlas provides fine scale maps of these vulnerable marine habitats. The detailed information collected on the location and nature of habitat types presented in this atlas will be included in the Geographic Information System (GIS) database for the Oil Spill Response Atlas (OSRA), an important resource aiding decision making and emergency response to shipping accidents and oil spills.

Data presented in the maps in this atlas was obtained from surveys conducted in March 2010.

Item ID: 45813
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: marine habitats, shipping, torres strait, coral reef, shipping risk, seagrass, moa island, mabuiag island
Related URLs:
Funders: Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), Fisheries Queensland (FQ), Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 23:23
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 3
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page