Western Australia’s e-newsletter for coastal and marine conservation.
Connecting researchers, community and government as communities of coastal care.



Welcome to the November edition of WA Coastal News

In this issue we hear about the Uunguu Rangers who are looking after country and we get inspired by the curiosity of a young lady which reminds us why it is important to ask questions and seek answers.

You can get involved in coastal protection and management in WA by distributing ‘Seeds for Snapper’ and providing your input into the proposed Marine Park on the south coast. There are also some great events coming up, including the WA State of the Blue Economy forum in Fremantle, and some interesting research that increases our knowledge of the impact of marine heatwaves on corals and flood risk in Western Australia.

Thank you once again to all our contributors. If you would like to have your news shared, please contact us in time for the next edition (early March 2022)

All the best for a wonderful festive season. Enjoy your summer on the coast!

Carmen Elrick-Barr
Chair, WA branch, Australian Coastal Society

Thank you for reading and supporting WA Coastal News
If you have any news to share in our newsletter we would love to hear from you.

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In our backyard

Uunguu Rangers earn their Coxswain tickets

Photo credit: Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation

This year Wunambal Gaambera's Uunguu Rangers completed their Coxswain ticket at Mungalalu (Truscott). Five Uunguu Rangers: Ildephonse Cheinmora, Damon Bundamarra, Troy Karadada, Ebonny Hassett and Tabitha Evans, can now pilot vessels to carry on the Wundaagu (saltwater) healthy country work.

“Seeds For Snapper”: Help plant seagrass seeds this season to benefit snapper

Photo credit: OzFish

After registering more than 250 volunteers last year, OzFish is again calling upon recreational fishers, divers, boat owners and community members to donate their time until December 15th to take part in the largest community driven seagrass restoration project in Australia.

Where have all the penguins gone?

Artwork by Hannah; Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Hear from Hannah and how her curiosity led to her to investigate, with support from her mentors at Millennium Kids, why Penguin Island has so few penguins.


More from community

Activating the Kwinana-Rockingham Coastcare Community

Photo credit: Perth NRM

Perth NRM has received Coastwest funding to support four emerging Coastcare groups in the Kwinana-Rockingham region. The project will involve a series of coastal conservation events aimed at attracting local community volunteers, building knowledge and awareness around coastal threats and management, and delivering positive on-ground outcomes for identified project sites.


South Coast Marine Park on the horizon

Photo credit: Southern right whales at Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park.

Consultation is underway for a proposed marine park on the south coast of Western Australia as part of the State Government's Plan for Our Parks initiative to create five million hectares of national parks, marine parks and other conservation reserves by 2024. A marine park on the south coast was identified as a key component of this initiative.


WA’s first trial of an engineered reef for coastal erosion

Photo credit: City of Cockburn

Erosion has been a persistent issue at C.Y. O’Connor Beach for over 20 years with the foreshore and coastal assets at risk of damage and loss. Extensive works such as the relocation of dual use paths, dune revegetation and sand nourishment have been required in recent years to manage erosion and while these approaches mitigate the symptoms of erosion, they do not fully address the issue. The City of Cockburn will install a fabricated fringing reef in what it is describing as a unique coastal management trial.


Upcoming events

State of the Blue Economy Forum, December 9, Fremantle Western Australia

The State of the Blue Economy Forum convenes leaders and innovators from across marine industries, including fishing, energy, engineering, research and conservation. This annual event hosted by For Blue provides insight into trends and opportunities for you, your venture, and the trajectory of WA's ocean economy. Thurs 9 December 9-11:30am at: Little Creatures, Fremantle. The session will also be streamed online for free - details coming soon.

Purchase tickets and find out more

Upcoming conferences

International Conference on Coastal Health and Marine Ecosystem / 7-8 February 2022 / Online

International Conference on Coastal Health and Marine Ecosystem aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted. Early Bird Registration: December 17, 2021

More information >>

AMSA "Change and Connections" / 7-11 August 2022 / Cairns, Queensland

Details coming soon on the AMSA’s website >>

International Conference on Marine Protected Areas and Fisheries Management ICMPAFM / 30-31 August 2022 / Sydney, Australia

More information >>

National NRM Conference 2022 / 31 October – 4 November 2022 / Margaret River, WA

The next National NRM Conference will be co-hosted by the South West Catchments Council (SWCC), the peak NRM organisation for the South West since 2001. The conference will include a field trip, conference presentations, and the meeting of the National Chairs Forum.

More information >>

Rescheduled conferences

Australasian Coasts & Ports 2021 / Christchurch, NZ; now 10-13 April 2022; Speaker Registration Deadline is 31 January 2022 (full details in August edition of WA Coastal News)

29th Annual NSW Coastal Conference / Kingscliff, NSW; now 31 May – 2 June 2022; Early Conference Registration closes 1 April 2022 (full details in August edition of WA Coastal News)

Grants and funding opportunities

Successful State NRM Grants

The WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (WA CMCN) congratulates the 76 community stakeholders, among whom 10 are coastal groups, who were successful with their applications to the 2021 State NRM Community Stewardship Gants.


Visit the WA CMCN website and become a WA CMCN member (here) to receive monthly updates for upcoming funding opportunities.

National and international news


Half way there: progress review of the National Marine Science Plan 2015-2025

The National Marine Science Plan 2015–2025 presented a strategy for developing Australia’s blue economy. The Midway Point report, released on 23 November, celebrates achievements so far, highlights increasing threats and new opportunities, and identifies the next steps for ongoing success. It also aligns with global efforts to sustainably manage our oceans and harness the economic, environmental and social benefits of a strong blue economy.


Researchers release buoys to collect data for South Australian coastline erosion study

Data collection on Adelaide’s metropolitan coastline. Photo: Dr Graziela Miot da Silva

Three new buoys have been released to record real-time wave data in Gulf St Vincent, which will be used in models that will help to predict future changes in Adelaide's coastline. The wave data is critical to improve researchers' understanding of changes in ocean processes, due to climate change and sea level rise, that shape the coastline and cause coastal erosion.

Beautiful one day, uninsurable the next?

Gold Coast skyline from Surfers Paradise cc Wikipedia

For properties that will be hit by rising seas, bushfires, or other climate-related and extreme events, the problems are going to set in long before most are physically impacted. Lenders and insurers are taking climate risk seriously and examining properties to determine whether they are at risk of becoming uninsurable. According to the Insurance Council of Australia: “At present no region in Australia is uninsurable. However, it is possible some regions may become difficult to insure in the future unless governments invest in appropriate physical mitigation and adaptation strategies”. This is stark news for property owners or would-be buyers.

Read ABC News >>

A recently released report by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) estimates the Australian Government will need to invest $30 billion in large scale coastal protection and adaptation projects over the next 50 years. Recommended actions include: (i) protection; (ii) data collection; and (iii) planning - but is protection the best approach to manage risks to existing infrastructure?

Read ICA media release >> or download the report >>

Victoria released its Draft Marine and Coastal Strategy

Victoria’s draft Marine and Coastal Strategy was launched in late July and outlines priority actions to achieve the Marine and Coastal Policy 2020. Although the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council contributed to the strategy, some stakeholder groups, including the Victorian National Parks Association, said it needs more ambition, insight and strength to address the range and depth of threats impacting the marine and coastal environment. Although public consultation on the draft policy closed in September, the documents are still available on the website.

More information >>

UWA scientists join international push to ban harmful fisheries subsidies

Watch the WTO discussion on YouTube

A new study by researchers from UWA and nine institutions in five countries shows that marine heatwaves have caused major economic and ecological losses around the world, and researchers say global action needs to be taken to ease the impacts of extreme warming events on ocean life. They found socio-economic impacts in all major ocean basins with most events resulting in loss of fisheries; destruction of kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs; or mass mortalities of wildlife, often causing significant economic loss to multiple industries. The study was published in Science.

Read UWA news >>

Hear David Attenborough speak about the issue >>


Climate change: New planning policy in Wales a UK first

Upton-upon-Severn in 2007 UK floods. Photo: Iain Cuthburtson, Creative Commons

In a UK first, developers in Wales must consider potential future flooding or coastal erosion due to global warming. In a bid to reduce the impact of flooding on properties in Wales, developers will have to work with maps produced by Natural Resources Wales that show current risk levels and the risk posed by climate change.

Read BBC News >>

Miami's best real estate is threatened by rising sea levels, so the wealthy are moving to higher ground

Watch Rising Tide: Priced out in Miami on YouTube

Sea levels around the Miami region are rising at a rate triple the global average (9mm/yr), which is a major problem because much of the city is built on reclaimed wetlands. As a result, flooding during high tides is becoming a common occurrence and developers have started looking inland to build luxury homes for the coastal elite. Unfortunately, this often displaces long-time residents in marginalised communities -- perhaps a preview of what could be a survival-of-the-wealthiest as climate change advances?

Read ABC News >>


Ocean research has a new home in Exmouth

A state-of-the-art marine research laboratory dedicated to unlocking solutions to the biggest challenges facing the world’s oceans was officially opened in Exmouth, Western Australia on 15 September 2021.

Read more>>

New study reveals the economic impact of marine heatwaves

Change from dense kelp forest to brown algae cover after marine heatwave. Photo credit: Thomas Wernberg, UWA, from his chapter ‘Marine heatwave drivers collapse of kelp forests in Western Australia., 2021.

A new study by researchers from UWA and nine institutions in five countries shows that marine heatwaves have caused major economic and ecological losses around the world, and researchers say global action needs to be taken to ease the impacts of extreme warming events on ocean life. They found socio-economic impacts in all major ocean basins with most events resulting in loss of fisheries; destruction of kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs; or mass mortalities of wildlife, often causing significant economic loss to multiple industries. The study was published in Science.

Published research listing

Western Australia

1 WA coastal flooding risk rising rapidly according to UWA scientists

Analysis of WA coastal data from the last 50 years found a rapid increase in extreme sea levels leading to coastal flooding, due to a combination of sea level rise and climate cycle factors unique to WA – these will likely accelerate future coastal flooding risks.

Download paper >>


1 Problem framing in Australian coastal management

How we define our problems determines the solutions; yet problem framing within coastal management is rarely critiqued. Consequently, opportunities for comprehensive policy response, vital in addressing the complex challenges impacting the coast, are missed. This paper addresses this gap, analysing 48 institutional instruments contributing to coastal management in Australia. Analysis reveals an anthropocentric framing dominates, particularly at the local scale, prioritising humans over the environment. This might be justifiable in the short term but is incompatible with maintaining ecosystems services and long-term sustainability.

Download paper >>

2 Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear ‘ghost nets’ are increasing through time in Northern Australia

This analysis of aerial survey data from the Gulf of Carpentaria found that there has been an increase in ghost nets, despite more than a decade of illegal fishing countermeasure and clean-up efforts in the broader region. Since the input of 'ghost' fishing gear into the system currntly overwhelms the substantial net removal activities, the authors recommend improved monitoring and discuss ways to improve ghost gear management on land and at sea.

Download paper >>

3 Illegal fishing and compliance management in marine protected areas: a situational approach

Protected Areas (PAs) are spatially regulated places where various levels of protection are imposed for conservation purposes. This study applied a socio-ecological approach to understand the opportunity structure of illegal recreational fishing (poaching) in no-take zones in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, on order to predict the spatial-temporal distribution of poaching risk within no-take Marine National Park zones. The authors suggest that law enforcement strategies focus on reducing the negative outcomes associated with poaching, by limiting the opportunity of would-be offenders to undertake illegal activity.

Download paper >>

4 Mapping Australia's dynamic coastline at mean sea level using three decades of Landsat imagery

This study extracted seamless tide-datum annual shorelines identified from Landsat data (Digital Earth Australia Coastlines) to accurately quantify long-term coastal change rates at continental scale. Analysis indicates that 22% of Australia's non-rocky coastlines have changed significantly since 1988, which has implications for planning and forecasting future coastal change scenarios and their impacts. After evaluating the accuracy of their method using independent survey, photogrammetry and LiDAR data, the authors conclude it is suitable for monitoring change across dynamic coastal zones globally.

Download paper >>


1 The nature and extent of evidence on methodologies for monitoring and evaluating marine spatial management measures in the UK and similar coastal waters: a systematic map

Increasingly, marine protected areas, fisheries closures and marine plans are being used to manage marine ecosystems more effectively. This study conducted a meta-analysis of published studies to document the methodologies used to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures against social, economic, and ecological outcomes. Although the evidence base has grown over the past two decades, information to develop comprehensive evaluation frameworks is insufficient and a greater understanding is required to improve management of global ocean resources and spaces.

Download paper >>

2 Assessing the Impact of a Winter Storm on the Beach and Dune Systems and Erosion Mitigation by Plants, Mexico

Coastal dunes act as natural buffers that mitigate the extent of erosion and inland flooding – their resistance depends on the biogeomorphological feedback between the plants and the dunes. The authors explored the effect of plants in mitigating erosion on beaches with different geomorphological features by studying the response of a beach in Mexico to a winter storm and comparing the diversity and plant cover before and after the storm. They found that the protective role of dunes depends on pre-existing geomorphological conditions and the plant species growing on the beach and dunes, which is relevant given the growing global interest in mitigating erosion by means of ecosystem-based solutions.

More information >>

That’s it from us.

Take a look at the winning image from Wildlife Photographer of the year Laurent Ballesta; and learn more about the challenges faced taking this photo >>

Keep us updated on what you are up to……

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If you have any news to share in our newsletter we would love to hear from you.

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This newsletter is produced by ACS (Australian Coastal Society Ltd) in partnership with CMCN (Western Australian Coastal and Marine Network).

WA Coastal News acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the lands and coastlines of Western Australia. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging as we share knowledge and care for the land and waters of this state.


Copyright (C) 2021 Australian Coastal Society WA. All rights reserved.

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