Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Port Phillip; looking after biological diversity and maritime history

Hosting a busy port at it's northern end, Victoria's Port Phillip Bay has a rich biological diversity and wonderful maritime history. Geographically, the bay covers 1,930 square kilometres (480,000 acres) and the shore stretches roughly 264 km (164 mi). Although it is extremely shallow for its size, most of the bay is navigable. The deepest portion is only 24 metres (79 ft), and half the region is shallower than 8 m (26 ft). The volume of the water in the bay is around 25 cubic kilometres (6.0 cu mi).

To get an idea of the depth of the bay in relation to it's surface area hold up an A4 (letter size) piece of paper. If we imagine the paper as having the same surface area as the bay and view it side-on, you can get an idea of just how shallow this large bay is.

Port Phillip is blessed with coastal communities that are active in it's protection. Marine Care Ricketts Point (here) is an incredibly pro-active marine friends group who are involved in monitoring and education in their patch, Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary. Their members have a wonderful network constantly sharing news and brimming with information about their and other wet parks (for example see clips below). This is a best practice example of what a friends group can be.

Remembering that Gummy Sharks are a fish and chips favourite in Victoria, this clip is a surprise showing a small group foraging in and around the Point Cook Marine Sanctuary. The also clip shows the more common stingarees and Port Jackson sharks in abundance.

Marine Care also shared this interesting clip of one of the bay's historic landmarks, the wreck of the Cerebrus.  


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