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  • DERELICT FISHING GEAR AND OTHER MARINE DEBRISIN NORTHERN AUSTRALIA

    for

    National Oceans Office

    andDepartment of the

    Environment and Heritage

    by

    Ilse KiesslingKey Centre for Tropical Wildlife ManagementCharles Darwin University

  • Many thanks to all those, too numerous to mention

    individually here, who generously contributed their

    knowledge and experience to this report. Staff of many

    Government agencies gave freely of time, information

    and advice and relevant unpublished observations.

    Particular thanks to the project partners who provided

    guidance and support, especially Dr Peter Whitehead

    (Charles Darwin University), Rowan Wylie (National

    Oceans Office), Warren Geeves, Steve Szabo and

    Bruce Rose (Department of Environment and Heritage),

    Linda Cuttriss and Damien White (WWF), and Steve

    Roeger and Nanikiya Munungirritj (Dhimurru).

    All of the above provided important guidance

    during the development of the project and made

    constructive comments on earlier drafts. I would

    also like to acknowledge Caroline Hamilton and

    Rod Kennett for their assistance in many aspects

    of early work on marine debris in the Northern Territory,

    as well as Nanikiya Munugurritj, Djawa Yunupingu,

    Mangatjay Yunupingu and Kelvin Leitch, who first

    introduced me to the significance of this issue.

    Acknowledgements

    TITLE:

    FINDING SOLUTIONSDERELICT FISHING GEAR AND OTHER MARINE DEBRIS IN NORTHERN AUSTRALIA

    COPYRIGHT National Oceans Office, 2003

    DISCLAIMERThis report was prepared for the National Oceans Office and the Department of Environment and Heritage to assist with obtaining an overview of the marine debris issue in Northern Australia, and identify possible solutions. The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the contents of this report.

    SOURCINGCopies of this report are available from: The National Oceans Office Level 1, 80 Elizabeth St, Hobart GPO Box 2139 Hobart TAS 7001 Tel: +61 3 6221 5000 Fax: +61 3 6221 5050 www.oceans.gov.au

    and also from the website of Charles Darwin University www.wildlife.ntu.edu.au

    REPRODUCTION: Information in this report may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, subject to the inclusion of acknowledgement of the source and provided no commercial usage or sale of the material occurs. Reproduction for purposes other than those given above requires written permission from the National Oceans Office. Requests for permission should be addressed to the Public Affairs Officer, National Oceans Office, GPO Box 2139, Hobart TAS 7001.

    CREDITS:Typesetting: design@naughtee.comPrepress: PMLPrinting: PMLPublished by the National Oceans Office

    PHOTO CREDITS:Cover; Vance Wallin, except - Net survey WWF, stranded turtle Craig Jenkins, Big net Ilse Kiessling, tangled turtle Dept of Environment and Heritage.

    Inside pages; Net survey WWF, page 1; Beach cleanup WWF, page 3; Freeing Olive Craig Butler, page 4; Rubbish on beach Vance Wallin, page 5; Rubbish WWF, page 13; Nanikiya and shark Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au), page 15; Cutting Turtle Free Craig Butler, page 17; Releasing Turtle Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au). page 18. Big net Ilse Kiessling, page 21; Turtle in net Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au), page 23; TV on beach Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au), page 24; Rubbish on beach Vance Wallin, page 25; Tangled turtle Dept of Environment and Heritage, page 27; Metal drum on beach Vance Wallin, page 31; Rubbish on beach Vance Wallin, page 33; Rubbish on beach Ilse Kiessling, page 33; stranded turtle Craig Jenkins, page 35; Crab caught in net Vance Wallin, page 37; Shark caught in net Vance Wallin, page 39; Marine Debris Dept of Environment and Heritage, page 41; Rubbish WWF, page 42; Rubbish WWF, page 43; Nanikiya and shark Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au), page 44; Rubbish on beach Vance Wallin, page 47; Crab caught in net Vance Wallin, page 49; Net survey WWF, page 51; Nanikiya and shark Dhimurru (www.dhimurru.com.au), page 54.

    STATE LIBRARY REF:Finding Solutions: Derelict Fishing Gear and Other Marine Debris in Northern Australia

    1-877043-30-3

  • PAGE 1

    Acronyms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Scope of the Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    1.1 Aim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    1.2 Geographic Scope. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    2. Sources, composition and magnitude of marine debris

    in the coastal and marine environments of northern Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    2.1 Magnitude of debris in the northern Australian

    marine environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    2.2 Composition and source of debris in the northern Australian

    marine environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

    2.2.1 Commercial fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

    2.2.2 Recreational boating and fishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

    2.2.3 Cargo ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

    2.2.4 Coastal barges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    2.2.5 Surveillance and patrol vessels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    2.2.6 Offshore oil platforms, rigs and supply vessels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    2.2.7 Passenger cruise ships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    2.2.8 Research vessels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    3. Impacts of marine debris in northern Australia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    3.1 Marine organisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    3.2 Marine habitats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

    3.3 Economic, public safety and social/cultural impacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

    4. Legislative framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

    4.1 Enforcement and compliance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

    5. Existing marine debris codes, organisations and activities

    in northern Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

    6. Options to address marine debris in the Arafura Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

    6.1 Good information (research and monitoring) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

    6.2 Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

    6.3 Moral suasion (education and outreach). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

    6.4 Incentives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

    6.5 Direct control (institutional, legal and regulatory arrangements). . . . . 39

    6.6 Technical options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

    7. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

    References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

    Personal communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

    Annex I

    Finding solutions to derelict fishing gear and other marine debris

    in northern Australia: Project Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

    Annex II

    Listed and protected marine and coastal species found

    in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Arafura Sea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .