Along Victoria’s coastline there are 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have been established to protect the state’s significant marine environmental and cultural values. These MPAs include 13 Marine National Parks (MNPs), 11 Marine Sanctuaries (MSs), 3 Marine and Coastal Parks, 2 Marine Parks, and a Marine Reserve, and together these account for 11.7% of the Victorian marine environment. The highly protected Marine National Park System, which is made up of the MNPs and MSs, covers 5.3% of Victorian waters and was proclaimed in November 2002. This system has been designed to be representative of the diversity of Victoria’s marine environment and aims to conserve and protect ecological processes, habitats, and associated flora and fauna. The Marine National Park System is spread across Victoria’s five marine bioregions with multiple MNPs and MSs in each bioregion, with the exception of Flinders bioregion which has one MNP. All MNPs and MSs are “no-take” areas and are managed under the National Parks Act (1975) - Schedules 7 and 8 respectively.
This report updates the first Marine Natural Values Study (Plummer et al. 2003) for the MPAs in the Otway bioregion on the west coast of Victoria and is one of a series of five reports covering Victoria’s Marine National Park System. It uses the numerous monitoring and research programs that have increased our knowledge since declaration and aims to give a comprehensive overview of the important natural values of each MNP and MS.