New technology to monitor Australian marine parks

24 December 2022

Enjoying Australia’s marine environments, fresh seafood and Christmas go hand in hand. The Albanese Labor Government is trialling new technologies in our marine parks to make sure we have sustainable fishing and thriving marine environments for Christmases to come.

Drones, uncrewed surface vessels and sound traps are part of a suite of new technologies being trialled by Parks Australia to monitor compliance and to detect illegal fishing activity in Australian Marine Parks.

To monitor on-water activities around this year’s Western rock lobster ‘whites run’, two sound traps have been installed at Two Rocks Marine Park (25km west of Perth) to provide valuable information on vessel activity in the park. Acoustic recorders, or sound traps, are used in National Park Zones that do not allow fishing to monitor vessel activity and to enhance compliance awareness.

The ‘whites run’ is a natural phenomenon where juvenile western rock lobsters from Kalbarri down to Bunbury moult their distinctive red shells, becoming pale pink and soft. They then turn to exactly 283 degrees north-west, and walk from shallow coastal reefs to deep water.

In January 2023, Parks Australia will test the efficacy of uncrewed surface vessels, using the Australian company OCIUS Technology “Bluebottles”, through a trial to capture 24/7 real-time imagery of activity in the Two Rocks and Jurien Marine Parks.

Suspicious or illegal activity in Australian Marine Parks can be reported to the Marine Parks hotline number – 1800 852 975 or email marine.compliance@environment.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:

“Australian Marine Parks are special places. Monitoring to prevent people doing the wrong thing is essential to protect and conserve our rich marine life and biodiversity in these areas.

“The Two Rocks Marine Park is home to lagoons which provide habitat for young western rock lobsters and pink snapper, a crucial part of the marine food chain and an important species for recreational and commercial fishers.”