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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Aquatic biodiversity

Biodiversity refers to the wide variety of plants and animals living within a particular area.

Monitoring aquatic biodiversity can provide us with a critical barometer of the health of our ecosystems.

All fisheries activities are directly dependent on WA’s aquatic biodiversity - the core of our Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management approach.

Australia is one of 17 countries described as 'megadiverse'. This group of countries has less than 10% of the global surface, but support more than 70% of the biological diversity on earth.

Eight of Australia’s top 15 biodiversity ‘hotspots’ can be found in Western Australia: one in the South-west and the other on our North-west Shelf which contains more marine species than in any other region of the world.

The Abrolhos Islands form the southern-most extensive coral reef system in the Indian Ocean and one of the highest latitude coral reefs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Some 200 species of coral and 600 species of fish inhabit the Abrolhos. It is also estimated that 50 per cent of the eggs produced by the rock lobster breeding populations every year come from the islands.

Unfortunately, our unique marine and freshwater biodiversity is under threat from a wide range of environmental factors including increasing population and movements, a changing climate, coastal developments, and aquatic pests.

Our comprehensive biodiversity monitoring research program informs our management approach to conserving and, where required, recovering aquatic biodiversity.

We deploy a wide range of management tools and mechanisms such as marine protected areas to protect our aquatic biodiversity.

We also play a key role in assessing and mitigating the potential impacts of planned industrial and resource projects on regional aquatic biodiversity.​​​​​​​​​​

Last modified: 4/03/2016 10:27 AM

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The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.