Cool Eet Facts

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Fish, fins and other living things


  1. The amount of fish harvested in the world is more than that of cattle, sheep, poultry or eggs.


  2. Fish is the biggest source of wild or domestic protein in the world.


  3. The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest known animal ever to live on sea or land. Individuals can reach more than 33 metres (110 feet) and weigh nearly 180 tonnes (200 tons). This is more than the weight of 50 adult elephants!


  4. The blue whale's blood vessels are so big that a full grown trout could swim through them to its heart, which is the size of a small car.


  5. Green turtles can migrate more than 1400 miles to lay their eggs.


  6. A group of herrings is called a siege.


  7. A group of jelly fish is called a smack.


  8. The blue fin tuna is one of the largest and fastest marine fish. Adults may weigh 680 kilograms (1500 pounds) and swim up to 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour.


  9. Penguins "fly" underwater at up to 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour.


  10. Horseshoe crabs have existed in the same form for 135 million years.


  11. The study of a deep sea community in an area half the size of a tennis court revealed 898 species. More half these species were new to science.


  12. Dugongs are the only fully plant eating marine mammal, and the only sea cow to occur in Australia.


  13. 520 dolphins were caught in shark nets in Queensland between 1967 and 1988 - one every two weeks.


  14. Penguins are worth $50 million per year to Victoria's economy through tourism.


  15. Annual export of marine products are valued at $1.1 billion in 1992-3.


  16. Some 200 different species of fish, 60 species of crustaceans and 30 species of molluscs are fished.


  17. Sixty aquatic creatures from seaweed to crocodiles are now farmed in Australia, worth $260 million in 1991-92.


  18. Fifty-five species of fish and invertebrates have been introduced into Australian waters.


  19. The outbreak of the coral eating starfish crown of thorns between 1982 and 1992 affected 17% of Australia's 2900 coral reefs.


  20. Australia's waters are home to more than 4000 species of fish including 166 species of shark and more than 110 species of seahorse.


  21. Six of the Earth's seven species of turtle are found in Australia: the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Pacific Ridley Turtle and the Flatback Turtle. The Flatback Turtle is only found in Australia.


  22. There are 110 species of seabird belonging to 12 families around Australia.


  23. Three species of seal breed in mainland Australian waters: the Australian sea lion, Australian fur seal and the New Zealand fur seal. The Australian sea lion is only found in Australia. Seven species of seal breed in Australia's subantarctic islands and the Antarctic Territories.


  24. Eight species of baleen whales and 35 species of toothed whale, porpoises and dolphins are found in Australian waters.


  25. Australia has the highest diversity of seagrass beds in the world.


  26. Australia has the largest area of temperate seagrass and one of the largest areas of tropical seagrass in the world.


  27. Australia has 30 of the world's 58 species of seagrass. Seagrasses are critical nursery, breeding and feeding habitats for scores of species - from hundreds of fish species to western rock lobsters to green sea turtles and dugongs.


  28. Australia has 500 coral species in the reefs of northern Australia and south eastern Australia.




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  1. Australia has one of the most diverse range of fish in the world.


  2. Over half of the world's population lives within 100 km (60 miles) of a coastline - more than 2,700,000,000 people ! (2.7 billion).


  3. By the year 2000, 13 out of 15 of the world's largest cities will lie on or near coasts.


  4. 362,000,000 km² or 71% of the Earth's surface is water!


  5. The oceans hold 1,300,000,000 km³ (328,000,000 miles³) of water.


  6. The deepest spot in the Earth's oceans is the Mariana Trench, which is 11.7 km deep.


  7. 15 of the world's 17 largest fisheries are either over-fished or in trouble.


  8. The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. The difference between high tide and low tide can be as great as 16 metres (53 feet) - the equivalent of a three story building.


  9. The periodic shifting of warm waters from the western to the eastern Pacific Ocean creates dramatic effects on the world's climate. This is called the El Nino effect.


  10. If the ocean's salt were dried it would cover the continents to a depth of 1.5 metres (5 feet).


  11. Undersea earthquakes and other disturbances cause tsunamis or tidal waves. The largest recorded tidal wave measured over 6 metres (20 feet) high when it reached Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula in 1737.


  12. Three quarters of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast.


  13. Over 6000 shipwrecks have occurred in Australian water over the last 400 years.


  14. Each year 1.9 million scuba dives take place in Australian waters.


  15. Australians eat an average of 12 kg of seafood per year.


  16. Of the 100 fisheries described in Australian Fisheries Resources nine are over fished, 23 fully or heavily fished, 9 under-fished, and the status of 59 are unknown.


  17. One in every three Australians goes fishing.


  18. Global warming is predicted to increase sea levels by between 5 and 35 cm, by the year 2030!


  19. Australia is responsible for 11 million square kilometres of ocean within its Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 km.


  20. Australia shares maritime borders with 5 other nations: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Zealand and France.


  21. Australia is the world's largest island.


  22. Australia has about 12,000 islands within its waters. The third biggest island is Kangaroo Island. What is the second biggest?


  23. Hot and Cold. Australia has all five of the world's temperature zones: tropical, subtropical, temperate, subpolar and polar.





  1. The destruction of sea grass by increased sedimentation and high levels of nutrients is one of the biggest problems facing the Australian marine environment.


  2. Queensland has four times the amount of sediments, nitrogen and phosphorous entering the sea today than before European settlement.


  3. Over a third of the oil found in the sea comes from the land.


  4. At any one time around 500 seals in Tasmanian water have 'collars' of plastic litter around their necks.


  5. 80% of Australians live in coastal cities with inadequate sewage systems.


  6. 34% of surfing beaches have one or more storm water outlets on them.


  7. Only 5.2% of Australia's marine territory is protected in Marine Protected Areas. Nearly three quarters of this area is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


  8. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest complex of coral reefs in the world, consisting of 2,900 separate reefs and is 2,500 km in length. It has an area of around 344,000 km².


  9. Australia has more than 300 Marine Protected Areas (ocean national parks).


  10. The first Marine Protected Area was a small reserve established on Queensland's Green Island in 1937.


  11. Marine Protected Areas cover more than 463,000 square kilometres or 5% of Australian waters including Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland, and Jervis Bay Marine Park and Solitary Islands Marine Park in NSW.


  12. Oil spills account for only 5% of oil entering the ocean.


  13. Most frequently found items found in beach clean ups are plastics, followed by plastic foam, plastic utensils, glass and cigarette butts.


  14. As many as 20,000 northern fur seals die each year from becoming entangled in netting.


  15. Air pollution is responsible for almost one third of the toxic contaminants and nutrients that enter coastal areas and oceans.


  16. There are 109 countries with coral reefs. Reefs in 90 countries are being damaged by tourism - cruise ship anchors, sewage, tourists taking chunks of coral, and by commercial harvesting for sale to tourists.


  17. The anchor from one cruise ship can destroy a sea bed area the size of half a football field.