Areas that are required for a population to survive and thrive.
An area containing
(i) breeding grounds, spawning areas, nursery areas, juvenile habitat or other areas important for life history stages of species; or
(ii) habitats of migratory species (feeding, wintering or resting areas, breeding, moulting, migratory routes)
Case study: South Tasman Sea EBSA
The South Tasman Sea lies between Australia and New Zealand. It has a complex underwater topography that includes a vast expanse of abyssal plain punctuated by steep-sided seamounts reaching almost to the surface. It also has a significant thermal gradient, with the sea surface temperature in the south around 10°C cooler than in the north. Such conditions reflect the dynamic physical, chemical and ecological nature of the area, which boasts one of the highest levels of primary productivity (photosynthesis of plankton) in the ocean.
Because of its dynamic nature and high productivity relative to its surroundings, the area is an important foraging site for a number of seabird populations, and is used during multiple life-history stages including both breeding and non-breeding seasons. The area is also used as an important transit route for species feeding in other areas as they travel to and from colonies on nearby landmasses.
Seabird species for which the area is of greatest importance during their breeding season are the Buller’s albatross (Thalassarche bulleri), the Antipodean albatross (Diomedea antipodensis), Cook’s petrel (Pterodroma cookii), and during their non-breeding season, the white-capped albatross (Thalassarche steadi) and the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans). All these species are listed as either ‘vulnerable’ or ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN’s red list of endangered species. The diversity of seabird species in the Tasman Sea is among the highest in the world and as a consequence it also designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
The South Tasman Sea area was described by participants at the Western South Pacific Regional EBSA workshop, and designated as an EBSA at COP11 Decision XI/17, October 2012).