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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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Marine Management

Managing human activities and ensuring the integrity of marine ecosystems is a difficult challenge and involves the support and cooperation of Governments, industry, business and community.

This module deals with the need for innovative management solutions, how and why such strategies are developed and implemented and the science that underpins management.

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.

Commercial Rock Lobster

Students will learn how research on the Western rock lobster contributes to the management of the fishery.

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.

Marine Mapping

Students will use maps of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and analyse the percentage of the different areas within the map to the total protected area.

Pest Control

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

What's My Age Again?

Students discover the process where fish otoliths are extracted and analysed to determine the age of the fish. Students will practice ageing fish using photographs of black bream sectioned otoliths and Australian herring whole otoliths.

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.

How Many Fish in the Sea?

Students will investigate methods that are used to estimate animal populations and acknowledge the need to consider variables and constraints that can affect the confidence of results and effectiveness of management.

Dissect a Fish

Students dissect a bony fish, identify the internal features and learn how these features enable the fish to survive.

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.

Demersal Scalefish

The Bottom Dwellers

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: Barramundi

Barramundi are a highly opportunistic species that dominate many tropical rivers. Delicious and thrilling to catch, they also live in both freshwater and saltwater, change sex and eat just about anything. Barramundi support substantial commercial, recreational and customary fisheries, as

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Western Blue Groper

In southern Australia, the western blue groper is actually the largest carnivorous bony fish species found living on reefs, reaching a length of up to 1.7 m and a weight of up to 40 kg.  Learn more about the biology

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Threadfins

With their goggling, oddly placed eyes and their whisker-like pectoral filaments, threadfins are one of the weirder looking Western Australian fish species. Find out more about the biology of these weird looking fish and the commercial fishery in this fact

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: Western Rock Lobster

Colourful and protected by a strong carapace, the western rock lobster is one of the family of 'spiny' lobsters - and the target of WA's largest and most valuable fishery. This fact sheet explores the basic biology of the western rock lobster.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Sharks

Of the 370-plus shark species in the world, more than 100 species live in Western Australian waters. This fact sheet provides general information about the biology of sharks, protected species and their vulnerability to overfishing.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Pink Snapper

Pink snapper are one of Western Australia's best-known and most sought-after fish. This fact sheet provides information on the widely distributed Pink Snapper (Pagrus auratus) and their biology.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Baldchin Groper

Baldchin groper, affectionately known as 'baldies', are greatly prized for their high-quality white flesh.  Found only in WA, they are powerful swimmers and quite capable of breaking a fishing line as they dive for cover among rocks and coral. This

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Australian Herring

A staple fish for recreational and commercial fisheries in the south of the State, Australian herring are a popular and abundant species with a lifecycle dependent on prevailing currents.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: West Australian Dhufish

A fact sheet providing information on Western Australian dhufish (Glaucosoma hebracium), a fish species endemic to the southern part of Western Australia. Its great size and superb eating qualities make this fish a Western Australian fishing icon.

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.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Blue Swimmer Crab

This fact sheet provides information about blue swimmer crabs (Portunus pelagicus), a tropical crustacean species found in Western Australia mainly between Karratha and Dunsborough. Also known as a blue manna crab, it is an important recreational and commerical fishing species.

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Black Bream

Black bream is one of the most important recreational and commercial fish species in the estuaries of south-Western Australia. A 'true' estuarine species, black bream complete their whole lifecycle within an estuary and are reliant on healthy rivers and estuaries

Other Resources

Statewide Recreational Fishing Guide

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

Catch Care Tips for Recreational Fishers

This ‘Catch care – tips for recreational fishers’ booklet includes lots of information about catching and preparing your fish.

FOP No. 57 Introduced Marine Species in Western Australia

Fisheries Occasional Publication No. 57, March 2009.  Fred E. Wells, Justin I. McDonald and John M. Huisman


Pink Snapper Egg Survey

Western Fisheries article, November 2006, pg. 49

Oldest Pink Snapper

Western Fisheries article by Eloise Dortch, March 2009, pg. 36-37

How to Get Inside a Fish's Head

Western Fisheries article by Dr Jill St John, Summer 2003/04, pg. 43

When Ears Tell Tales

Western Fisheries article by Cathy Anderson, September 2004, pg. 26-27

Looking for little lobsters

Western Fisheries article by Cathy Anderson, July 2010, pg. 46-48

Western Rock Lobster Fishery Trends

Western Fisheries article, December 2008, pg. 47

Between a rock lobster and a hard place

Western Fisheries article by Ben Carlish, April 2010, pg. 48-51

The Hunt for Missing Puerulus

This time a year ago, it seemed that good news awaited Western Asutralia's western rock lobster fishery.  For the first time in eight years, climatic conditions were ideal for the strong recruitment of young lobster.  But from August onwards, when

The Strange and Secret Army

Most people interested in fishing in Western Australia know a fair bit about how we manage the stocks of western rock lobster, the fact that there is a 'season' for them, bag and size limits and that sort of thing. 

Artificial reefs: Oases for Marine Life?

Western Fisheries article by Michelle Dyer, December 2009, pg. 42-43

Fisheries taps Port Gregory pond potential

Western Fisheries article, July 2006, pg. 45

A Reef of Data

Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson, Jul 2010, pg. 38-41. Every time the Western Australian Museum, the Australian Institute of Marine Research, the CSIRO, WA government scientists or any of our universities surveys WA’s northern waters, their findings reinforce the

Assessment of Human Activity Impacts on Abrolhos Reefs

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

Looking After Our Nearshore Fish Stocks

Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland, Apr 2010, pg. 29-35

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,

Marking Time… and Distance… and Distance…

Fishing tales must be among the tallest and most entertaining in the world, but are no basis for a system of management. With the world’s oceans and fisheries under great environmental and commercial stress, having accurate data about the marine

Save Us Your Skeletons

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

Major Busts Dent Seafood Black Market

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

Predicting the Leeuwin System

The urgency to understand and adapt to the Earth’s changing climate has caused an explosion in climate studies and collection of data about atmospheric and oceanic weather systems. Cathy Anderson reports on a new scientific study to better understand the

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

Protecting Species on Intertidal Platforms

Western Fisheries article by F. Wells, J. Keesing and T. Irvine, Jan 2008, pg. 40-41

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

How Fish Move and How We Can Help Them

Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland, Jul 2006, pg. 12-17

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,

Crashing the Parties

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

How Fish Breathe and Why They Need Good Water

Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland and M. de Graaf, Mar 2007, pg.12-17

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

The Uncommon Senses of Fish

Like human beings, fish are equipped with the senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight – but they also have other ingenious ways of perceiving their watery world. Steve Ireland reports, Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland Nov 2006,

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

Abalone Study Points the Way

Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson Sept 2008, pg. 38-40

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

Teacher Guides

Teacher Guide: Bare Bones Fisheries Science

A Fisheries Activity 1. Overview Students will learn why fisheries scientists dissect fish and what information can be found from examining the external and internal structure of a fish. Students then carry out their own fish dissection, where they

Teacher Guide: A Plethora of Plankton

Students will learn how fisheries scientists use plankton to estimate fish populations, egg production and determine the health of fisheries. Students will conduct their own plankton tow and learn to identify common plankton.

Teacher Guide: Fishing for Sustainability

A Department of Fisheries activity that gives students an overview of the role that the Department of Fisheries plays in managing our aquatic natural resources. Students will try their hand at ‘dry fishing’ with their own handline to observe the effects of fishing pressure on our fish stocks, and how management and science plays an important role in conserving them.

In Depths

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.


Australian Herring Whole Otolith PowerPoint Presentation

View slides of whole Australian herring otoliths to determine the age of each fish.  This presentation is a resource related to the 'What's My Age Again?' Lesson Plan.

Black Bream Sectioned Otolith PowerPoint Presentation

View sectioned slides of Black bream otoliths to determine the age of each fish.  This presentation is a resource related to the 'What's My Age Again?' 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