Manly and North Head have been named the biggest biodiversity hot spots in Sydney in a survey led by citizen scientists.
The Reef Life survey conducted last month revealed an increase in tropical fish numbers in the area, with volunteers and divers recording 200 fish species at sites including Shelly Beach, Fairy Bower and North Head.
The latest count smashed the previous record of 170 species found in 2009. Survey co-ordinator John Turnbull said the biggest rise was in tropical fish numbers.
“We recorded a significant number of colourful tropical species, including green turtles, unicornfish, and moorish idols, that are being driven down into Sydney by ocean warming from climate change,” Mr Turnbull said.
“But even though Manly is very diverse, many of those fish aren’t able to grow and reach maturity because of pressure from fishing in the area.”
Nature Conservation Council campaigner Sue Milthorpe said Manly’s waters were proof of why Sydney needed a marine park.
“We’re seeing some very rare species now able to live and survive here,” she said. “There’s still so much more to learn.”