skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Monday 23 October 2017

Marine fish kill at Cottesloe under investigation

​The Fisheries division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has been investigating a marine fish kill event at Cottesloe Beach since Thursday 19 October.

Following a report of 50-60 dead starfish, Fisheries and Marine Officers visited Cottesloe Beach to assess the situation and collect samples. Less than 30 dead starfish were observed.
No other dead aquatic animals were reported or sighted.

The affected starfish species appear to be the sand sea star, local to Western Australia and the Whitsundays, Queensland.

Fisheries has investigated similar starfish deaths in previous years and these have been attributed to lifecycle events. Some aquatic animals perish when they are reproductively active and this is part of their natural lifecycle. Also, animals such as these can be washed ashore when swells increase or change and when there are storms.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will continue to monitor the area over the coming days and respond to enquiries. As with all fish kills, the department recommend as a precaution people do not collect, handle, or move any dead starfish.

The public’s involvement is a very important part of the department’s Fish Kill response program. The earlier the department hears about fish kill events, the better chance we have to respond and take suitable samples that will help establish what the cause might be. 

Any fish kills should be immediately reported to the FishWatch 24-hour hotline on 1800 815 507.

Fisheries is responsible for responding to fish kill events that occur in ocean environments. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation manages investigations on fish kills that occur in estuaries, rivers and naturally occurring inland water bodies.

Fish kills can occur anywhere in WA’s fresh and marine waters and can occur at any time of the day and in any month of the year.

Fish kills in open ocean areas like this one, may provide less evidence of a direct cause and we explore all possible explanations. It may not be possible to identify a single definitive cause, but every effort is made to establish probable factors.

For further information, visit

Last modified: 23/10/2017 2:03 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at