The Bremer Canyon is unique and no other submarine canyon in the world is the same. The largest known congregation of Orca in the Southern Hemisphere gathers during the summer months every year in and around the waters of the Bremer Canyon. Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, False Killer Whales, Beaked Whales, Seals, Sharks, Sunfish and an amazing array of pelagic seabirds also gather here to join the season. Squid is believed to be one of the main draw cards for the immense congregation of predators during the months of January to March each year. The importance of monitoring and learning about the environment of the Bremer Canyon is vital and that is why the canyon is protected by the Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve.
There is a group of eighty one canyons that run along the continental shelf in Australia’s South West region from Cape Leeuwin to just east of Esperance. These submarine canyons play host to a large variety of wildlife throughout the year and different seasons. Every canyon is unique with some more highly productive than others depending on their location and topography. A shelf incision canyon is a special situation where deep waters can reach the continental shelf by the incision from the canyon and allow for upwelling. The Bremer Canyon acts as an important connection from the continental shelf to the deep nutrient rich waters found at its depths of over four kilometres.
Life prospers in these unique environments and the entire food chain is reliant on each other for survival and efficiency of energy. This is why it is of most importance to protect these submarine canyons as they are the start of the food chain and beginning stages for larvae and phytoplankton. The Orca, apex predators of every ocean in the world, would not be able to survive if it were not for these canyons providing a reliable food source. Every predator in the ocean is reliant on a seasonal food source peak, something that they will travel thousands of kilometres for without hesitation because they know their next meal is ready and waiting for them. Let us make sure that we do not affect this meal and leave them with an empty table upon their return by continuing the establishment of Commonwealth Marine Reserves.
Acknowledgement and thanks to Geo Science Australia for the images.