What they are and where they are found? Giant Kelp or are large, canopy forming plants that grow in dense beds along the inshore reefs of south-east South Australia, Victoria, although now, mainly Tasmania. Kelp forests occur in cold, nutrient-rich waters and are amongst some of the most beautiful and biologically productive habitats in the marine environment. Individual plants can grow up to 30m tall, forming tall spectacular forests with the fronds providing a dense canopy which shade and modify understorey reef communities.
Giant Kelp forests are a unique species and a vital habitat of outstanding ecological and economic significance, representing areas of high biodiversity and productivity; and providing habitats for economic shellfish for example; abalone and rock lobster which are key elements to the economic produce of marine animals in Tasmania. However, the large kelp plants themselves represent a major ecological keystone species. Giant Kelp forests are also of very high recreational and tourism value, providing one of the greatest diving experiences in temperate waters.
Giant Kelp forests represent one of the most spectacular marine habitats in Australia, and are of immense ecological, economic, recreational and social significance. The Bull Kelp, is confined to south-eastern Tasmania and is threatened with; extinction and potentially large-scale ecological and economic consequences. As a major structural component of habitats, loss of Kelp Forests is likely to have significant downstream effects on marine biodiversity and also commercial fishing of mainly reef fisheries such as lobster and abalone, which rely on the survival of kelp habitats.
The cool waters of Tasmania have provided ideal conditions for some of the largest areas of sub tidal kelp habitats. Although the extensive kelp forests are an important marine community off the State's coasts, some along the east coast have been in decline in recent years.
Tasmania has the...