Cool fact…
Mackerel icefish are one of the most common fish species found in the shallower waters of the Kerguelen Plateau and along with Patagonian toothfish, form the basis for a commercial fishery in the region. Icefish are remarkable because they lack haemoglobin or red blood cells, resulting in blood that is an opalescent white/gray in colour, and cream coloured gills, liver and heart.

Nature

Subantarctic skua silhouetted against Big Ben
Subantarctic skua (Catharacta lonnbergi) silhouetted against Big Ben (Photo: Roger Kirkwood)

These pages provide a broad introduction to the natural aspects of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) – the animals, the plants, the marine environment and the landforms on the islands themselves.

HIMI is a spectacular and unique area of the world with considerable conservation significance. The relatively late discovery of the islands in the mid 19th century, combined with minimal human visitation over the last century due to the region's harsh climate and isolation, mean that HIMI's natural qualities have been little impacted by human activities.

The spectacular landforms, together with the the islands’ close to pristine terrestrial and marine biological communities and species of high conservation significance, are afforded the highest levels of protection on behalf of the people of the world through their inscription on the World Heritage list and through the declaration of the HIMI Marine Reserve.

This page was last modified on 28 February 2005.