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Location Australia, Tasmania
Central coordinates 146o 22.34' East  43o 44.32' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 9 ha
Altitude 0 - 134m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary Mewstone supports more than 1% of the world population of the near threatened Shy Albatross and more than 1% of the world population of Fairy Prion.

Site description Mewstone is a rocky oval-shaped 9 ha island, about 20 km south of Red Point, between Southport and Port Davey in south-west Tasmania. Composed of Muscovite granite, which is unknown elsewhere in the South-west National Park, the island is very steep and mostly bare jagged rock. The few plant species present on the island are confined to crevices and cavities in the rock where soil has accumulated. An estimated 7500 pairs of Shy Albatross accounts for 60% of the world population; and an estimated 20,000 pairs of Fairy Prion also breed, mostly in crevices and under boulders along the boulder-strewn summit ridge of the island.

Key Biodiversity Other species recorded at Mewstone by Brothers et al. (2001) were Black-faced Cormorant (at least 20 and perhaps up to 30 pairs), Silver Gull (a few pairs and at least 40 roosting birds), Australasian Gannet (individuals occasionally observed loafing), Buller's Albatross (one individual seen over several seasons with Shy Albatrosses), Peregrine Falcon and Forest Raven.

Non-bird biodiversity: Up to 50 Australian Fur Seal haul out on ledges on the east and south sides of the island and on the SE rock. White (1981) recorded the land snail Tasmanembryon tasmanicus and noted that Tasmanian Tree Skink were abundant. Senecio leptocarpus, Senecio lautus, Carpobrotus rossii, Poa poiformis, Asplenium obtusatum, Chenopodium glaucum and Sarcocornia quinqueflora were the only plants found.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Thalassarche cauta resident  1997-2005  7,380-7,500 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4ii  Not Recognised 
Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur resident  1977-1990  20,000 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Southwest National Park 618,267 protected area contains site 9  
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site 1,407,513 protected area contains site 9  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  100%

Land ownership Land owned by the Tasmanian State Government and managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Water.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

Protection status Part of Southwest National Park.

Access/Land-Owner requests Access is prohibited to protect nesting albatrosses.

Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Peter Britton. Aleks Terauds and Sheryl Hamilton kindly supplied data. Rachael Alderman and Rosemary Gales of DPIW kindly commented on the nomination.

References BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Thalassarche cauta. Downloaded from on 29/6/2007

Brothers, N., Pemberton, D., Pryor, H. and Halley, V. (2001) Tasmania's Offshore Islands: Seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart.

White, G. (1981) Islands of south-west Tasmania. A. T. Sutton & Co. Pty Ltd: Sydney.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mewstone. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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