Precious currents

The East Australian Current

The East Australian Current is one of the four currents which play a critical role in shaping marine environmental conditions and climate on the continent. (CSIRO).

As its name suggests, the current meanders along the East coast of Australia, from the Great Barrier Reef all the way to Tasmania. It became popular in 2003 as the superhighway that transports Nemo’s tropical fish friends to Sydney in the film Finding Nemo.

The East Australian Current is an important feature of the Tasman Sea, the part of the ocean situated between Australia and New Zealand. The Tasman Sea has been warming faster than any other part of the ocean (CSIRO), with dramatic consequences on marine life in Tasmania. 

One of the causes is to be found in the strengthening of the East Australia Current. Warm tropical waters from the Coral Sea region are forced further south, warming the Tasman Sea (The Conversation). The warmer waters bring with them invasive species such as the spiny sea urchin and slowly destroy Tasmania’s giant kelp forests and their unique ecosystems. (The Washington Post, The Guardian)

With the giant kelp forest ecosystems, shellfish, finfish, marine birds and mammals are disappearing, including the snail shells which have been shaped into necklaces by generations of people in Tasmania.


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