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Marine WATERs - Western Australia - Teacher Education Resources Government of Western Australia

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suitable for students from Kindergarten to Year 12

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Humans and the Marine Environment

As Western Australians, our marine environment has nurtured our social and cultural identity and continues to provide substantial economic value from the harvesting, extraction and use of its resources. Population growth, coastal development and industry are placing growing pressure on the sustainability of our marine resources and marine biodiversity across the State’s 12,500 kilometres of coastline.

This module explores how humans interact with the marine environment and poses the need to modify attitudes and behaviours to conserve and enhance our marine environment and resources for the benefit of future generations.

Lesson Plans

Un-fantastic Plastic

Students will research and define the term marine debris, understand the consequences associated with plastics in the marine environment and develop practical solutions either at school or in the field to address the problem.

Fishing for the Future

Students will explore the management of recreational fisheries in Western Australia and interpret local rules and regulations using Fisheries’ resources.

Habitat Protectors

Students will investigate the role seagrass meadows play in providing an important nearshore habitat for marine organisms. They will also identify risks to the integrity of seagrass communities and investigate improved management strategies.

Exposing Erosion

Students will investigate coastal erosion, what factors increase erosion and find possible solutions to coastal erosion. The presentation 'Examples of Coastal Erosion' is a related resource for this Lesson Plan.


Students will study the sustainability of the marine environment in an integrated literacy program, centred around the reading and comprehension of the books ‘Blueback’ and ‘The Deep’, written by Western Australian author Tim Winton.

Exceptional Expositions

In this series of lessons, students will read a variety of different articles that have been published in Western Fisheries and use this information to construct an exposition that encourages the protection of the marine environment.

Pest Control

Students will identify significant introduced marine species and investigate the impact to marine ecosystems and human infrastructure, specifically to Western Australia.

Welcome back Jack

Students will read the book Jinormous Jack by Josephine Barrymore and illustrated by Steve Dance, and explore the Ningaloo reef ecosystem and biology of whale sharks.

Manage a Fishery

Students will attempt to manage a sustainable fishery with pressures from increasing technology and fishing efficiency.

Sustainable Shores

Students will begin to comprehend the complex nature of coastal zone and aquatic resource management, identify conflicting activities and apply a sustainable approach to hypothetical and real life situations.

Planning a Safe Fishing Trip

Students will identify a range of risks associated with recreational fishing, implement strategies to reduce or exclude risks and develop a safe fishing plan for a future or hypothetical fishing excursion.

The Tide is High

Students will understand the forces that influence tides and the significance of the Lunar cycle. Students will interpret tidal movement by analysing tidal patterns and predicted tide tables.

Acid Test

Students will investigate the phenomena of ocean acidification and test the effects of increasing acidity on shell-forming marine organisms.

Hook, Line and Sinker

Students will gain an understanding of the social amenity and economic benefits of recreational fishing to the community, and learn how to apply sustainable behaviours and attitudes when fishing and caring for the marine environment.  Students will also learn skills

Marine Connections

Students will investigate marine ecosystems by examining the structure of marine food chains and food webs for Shark Bay.


Ocean Warming

The ‘marine heat wave’ that  was observed off the coast of Western Australia in the summer of 2010/11, saw ocean waters around the mid-west coast rise more than 3°C above average. Learn more about this event from this poster.

A Balancing Act

This poster shows the diversity of Western Australia's marine and coastal environments and the increasing number of activities that place growing pressure on the sustainability of our aquatic resources. Request a physical copy of this poster here.

Management for a Sustainable Future

Request a physical copy of this poster here.

Too Much of a Good Thing (Estuaries)

This poster highlights the impacts of oversupply of nutrients in estuaries.

Fact Sheets

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Introduced Marine Species

Dangerous migrants – marine species that are introduced into environments in which they do not occur naturally can become deadly pests and represent one of the greatest threats to the world's oceans and biodiversity. This fact sheet identifies some of

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Tailor

Tailor are one of the most popular recreational fishing species along the west coast of Western Australia.  Learn more about what fisheries' scientists know of tailor from more than 15 years worth of data collection on this species.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Sawfish

The unusual-looking sawfish family are a type of ray and are therefore related to sharks. Found in both marine and freshwater, these predatory fish derive their name from their long snouts lined with sharp points. An identification and general information

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Blowfish

The common blowfish or 'blowie', is abundant in estuaries and coastal waters throughout south-west Western Australia. While the blowfish will never win a popularity contest, it has an important role in marine ecosystems. The blowie is native to WA and

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Bycatch

What is bycatch? The accidental capture of unwanted or non-targeted fish or other animals. This fact sheet outlines what is bycatch and what the fishing industry is doing to reduce it through bycatch reduction devices and modified fishing equipment.

Other Resources

Statewide Recreational Fishing Guide

From 1 February, 2013 new recreational fishing rules apply across the whole of Western Australia.


The end of the world. Part 3

Western Fisheries article by Cathy Anderson, December 2009, pg. 6-11

Le Bout du Monde Deuxieme Partie (the end of the world. Part 2)

Western Fisheries article by Cathy Anderson, September 2009, pg. 6-11

The end of the world. Part 1

Western Fisheries article by Cathy Anderson, July 2009, pg. 16-23

Assessment of Human Activity Impacts on Abrolhos Reefs

Western Fisheries article, Jan 2008, pg. 48-49

A Day in the Life of…

A Day in the Life of… Jan St Quintin and Lee Higgins, Osteo-Chronologists, Western Fisheries article by B. Carlish, Apr 2010, pg. 16-18

Stars in the Sea

Driven by a love of the sea and fascination for its largest fish, the elusive whale shark, Australian naturalist Brad Norman has created a worldwide photo-identification system which enables ordinary people to assist in conserving Rhincodon typus. Story: Julian Cribb,

The Unforgiving Sea: Tips for Safe Summer Fishing

Western Fisheries article by C. Amalfi, Dec 2006, pg. 24-25

Life Saving Rings to be Installed Along Quobba Coast

Western Fisheries article by R. Myers, Dec 2006, pg. 24

Save Us Your Skeletons

Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland, Dec 2008, pg. 48-49

Fishing Log Book Unlocks History

Western Fisheries article by B. Carlish, Dec 2009, pg. 18-19

Major Busts Dent Seafood Black Market

Western Fisheries article by B. Carlish, Dec 2009, pg. 20-21

Miaboolya Water Under the Microscope

Western Fisheries article by M. van Zellar, Jan 2008, pg. 14-15

Race Against Time to Save Coral Reefs

The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) was established 83 years ago. Eloise Dortch attended its annual conference held in Fremantle and found some of its most eminent speakers wondered whether in the future, there would be any coral reefs left

Unwelcome Guests

Imagine somebody’s dream holiday, slowly sailing a small yacht through the Indonesian archipelago, taking time to anchor, swim and fish in remote bays. The yacht crosses to the north of Australia and gradually works its way down the Kimberley coast

Masters of Adaptation

A high percentage of fish caught commercially spend some time in mangroves or are dependent on food chains which can be traced back to mangroves. With mangrove cover decreasing worldwide, Carmelo Amalfi reports on the state of Western Australia’s mangal

Nathan Drew Safety Buoys

Western Fisheries article by E. Dortch, Jul 2007, pg. 30-31

Planning for the Future of Our Southern Coast

The concept of ‘regional marine planning’ is relatively new. Australia is among the world leaders in embracing this concept and now it is coming to a coast near you. What is it and how can you get involved?, Western Fisheries

Pinks Back from the Brink

Around 15 years ago, numbers of pink snapper in the inner gulfs of Shark Bay were on the brink of collapse. The Department of Fisheries initiated a comprehensive and long-term research, education and management program that is still ongoing today,

Quick, Call Me a Taxonomist! (Sorry, They’re all Busy…)

It’s estimated that the world’s oceans, particularly the virtually unexplored depths, could hold tens of millions of undiscovered species. But with fewer and fewer taxonomists to analyse, describe and classify new species, we may never know the full extent of

Crashing the Parties

Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson, Jun 2009, pg.34-38

Counting the Plastic Pellet Scourge

Western Fisheries article by M, Van Zeller, Mar 2009, pg.15

C’mon and Embrace the Smell...

or How Sea Wrack Plays a Vital Role in Raising Fish Seaweed and seagrass washed up on the beach may look unsightly and smell even worse, but they provide a nutritional haven for many marine species. Steve Ireland explains

Winning the War Against Fish Disease

In the first of two articles about fish health, advanced technologies for detecting disease that could infect entire fish populations were explained. In this, the second of the articles, Steve Ireland explores the parallels between the methods used to keep

Flowers of the Ocean: WA’s Expansive Seagrass Meadows

Watch the flowers bloom around your home this spring, then imagine the same wonder of nature taking place underwater in fields of seagrasses within snorkelling distance of the Western Australian coast. The shallow coastal beds shared by other unique marine

Taking Action Now to Ensure Demersal Scalefish for the Future

The West Coast Bioregion is home to a variety of fish species that live on or near the bottom of the ocean. These fish are termed ‘demersal’ species and include dhufish, pink snapper, baldchin groper, breaksea cod, blue morwong (queen

A Pest in Time Saves…Millions

Western Fisheries article by M. Hourston Oct 2010, pg. 38-39

Finfish Focus

Western Fisheries article by B. Carlish and B. Molony Oct 2010, pg. 42-44

Codium Confirmed in Albany Harbour

Western Fisheries article by M. Van Zeller Sept 2008, pg. 13

Invasion of the Water Snatchers

In the final of two articles on how marine species from other places made their homes in Western Australia, Steve Ireland looks at how marine invaders have turned up uninvited on our shores. Some have prospered, while others have disappeared

A Delicate Question of Balance

As with humans, the health of Western Australia’s South West estuaries and their fish populations is a balancing act – too much ‘food’ and all sorts of problems, such as algal blooms, can occur. Steve Ireland takes a look at

It’s Fishing, Jim, but Not as We Know It

Significant technological advances in fishing equipment have made catching big fish easier and far more accessible for the vast majority of recreational anglers. But with more fishers better ‘armed’ than ever before, Ben Carlish looks at how this technology works

Diver Below

Location, location, location... You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but what has it got to do with abalone fishing? Everything it seems, Western Fisheries article by B. Wiseman, Winter 2003, pg. 6-9

In Depths

Indian Ocean Territories – In Depth

Referred to as the Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs), the remote location of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is the key to their unique and spectacular marine biodiversity.

Living with the Leeuwin Current – In Depth

At 5,500 kilometres, the Leeuwin Current is the world's longest continuous coastal or boundary current.

Houtman Abrolhos System – In Depth

The Houtman Abrolhos, commonly referred to as "The Abrolhos", consist of 122 islands lying 60 kilometres west of Geraldton on Western Australia's mid-west coast.


Examples of Coastal Erosion

Explore examples of coastal erosion worldwide. This presentation is a resource related to the 'Exposing Erosion' Lesson Plan.

Harmful Marine Debris

This PowerPoint presentation illustrates the impact that plastic has on the marine environment. This is a related resource to the Un-fantastic Plastic lesson plan.


Pest Line-up Game

Students will work through an interactive game to identify the introduced marine species out of a line-up that includes Australian native species. Follow us on Facebook Fisheries Division Woodside Energy