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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​Measuring southern calamari
Wednesday 11 January 2023

Researchers study Cockburn Sound marine environment

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is leading research into how key fish species use Cockburn Sound during different lifecycle stages as part of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI)-Westport Marine Science Program.

Partnering with Murdoch and Curtin University and CSIRO, researchers are focussing on increasing their knowledge of blue swimmer crabs, squid, pink snapper and whiting.

The DPIRD-led research team has spent more than 150 days on the water since August 2021 and recorded more than 220 fish and invertebrate species in Cockburn Sound using nets, crab traps, acoustics, light traps and baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVs).

DPIRD researchers conducting blue swimmer crab breeding stock surveys using research hourglass traps

The information collected will provide a baseline for ongoing monitoring of the marine environment to inform the proposed development of a new container terminal. The surveys will continue every month until August 2023. 

DPIRD senior principal research scientist Gary Jackson said DPIRD was committed to fisheries and aquatic scientific research in Western Australia.

“We are leading four projects as part of the $13.5 million WAMSI-Westport Marine Science Program investigating the effects of climate change, the effects of suspended solids in the water under different scenarios, effectiveness of juvenile snapper stocking and the life stages of key fish species using Cockburn Sound,” Dr Jackson said.

“The science projects are bringing together a highly experienced team of marine scientists to study the Cockburn Sound marine environment.

“The scientific information we collect will help inform effective, long-term management practices for Cockburn Sound as part of the proposed new port development.”

Last modified: 11/01/2023 12:13 PM

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