Sydney has one of the most remarkable marine environments of any big city in the world. The harbour is a drowned valley, which until 10,000 years ago was inhabited by aborigines. As a result it has a huge range of different habitats - seagrasses, rocky reefs, kelp beds, boulder fields, sponge gardens and more - and a correspondingly spectacular array of marine life.
Sydney harbour has almost 600 species of fish, more than double the number of species found in all the seas around the British Isles. They include crimson banded wrasse, eastern blue groper, Tasmanian chromodorid, giant cuttlefish, moon wrasse, unicornfish, moorish idols, butterfly fish and splendid nudibranch.
A Marine Park for Sydney would extend beyond the harbour to include the entire Sydney coastline and all our ocean beaches and would be equivalent of an underwater national park. It wouldn't be the complete protection that has made Cabbage Tree Aquatic Reserve such a success, but it would be a great start.
Our Ocean Care Day Festival last year focussed on Sydney Marine Park, with the keynote presentation from diver and marine campaigner John Turnbull gave - on why our city deserves the protection a marine park affords.
More at sydneymarinepark.org.au
Images: John Turnbull was the keynote speaker; proposed Sydney Marine park stretcing from Pittwater to Port Hacking; the MEC Ocean Lab with huge map of Sydney Harbour and relevant fish species on the back wall.