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  Habitats - Rocky Reefs    

Rocky Reefs

3 Habitat Issues / Threats

Many interesting animals can be found on rocky shores and in rockpools. Because of the harsh conditions under which they live it is important that when observing these creatures they are left in the same locations that they were found.

This is particularly important for animals that live in rockpools or underneath rocks. Always make sure that rocks are returned to the same position that they were found in to ensure the survival of the animals that shelter beneath them.


Students conducting a survey



In many parts of the coast animals are collected for use as food or as bait for fishing. It is always important to be aware of regulations that apply to collection and to ensure that is allowed that only what is really needed is removed. In many parts of the coast there are regulation to protect the animals and plants on the rocky shores.

Areas that are established as Marine National Parks, Reserves, or Shellfish Reserves are places where removal of wildlife is prohibited and should be protected for all people to enjoy.

Here are some positive ways in which you can look after rocky reefs while enjoying them.

ROCK PLATFORMS with pools of water and loose rocks provide habitat for many plants and animals.

Leave rockpool animals and plants in the water as they may die if removed.

Return any overturned rocks to their o

riginal position. Animals and plants may die if left exposed to the sun.
Try to avoid trampling animals and plants.

Collect only empty shells. Shells that contain live animals will die if removed from their habitat and soon become extremely smelly.

Leave some shells on the beach for use by other animals for shelter.

Take only what you really need when collecting marine animals for food and leave something for others.Know the regulations that apply to collecting animals including abalone, crayfish, pippies and other shellfish, and some fish. Regulations can be obtained from the Governemtnt Department responsible for coasts ( eg.In Victoria - the Department of Natural Resources and Environment offices).

Return undersized or unwanted fish to the water as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary death of animals. Handle fish with wet hands to avoid rubbing protective slime off scales. Dispose of unwanted or tangled fishing lines and nets on land as they can be lethal to fish, marine mammals, birds and reptiles.

Collect only the bait that you require. Some bait species are protected, especially in Marine Parks and Reserves. Know the regulations on bait collection. There are many alternatives to live bait such as steak,chops,bread dough, fish guts, and tripe - try some!

Leave shellfish in designated shellfish protected areas. When diving be aware of the impact of your fins and gear on the reef.

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