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Benchmarking human use of Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park prior to implementation of the management plan

Beckley, L.E., Smallwood, C. and Fisher, E. (2015) Benchmarking human use of Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park prior to implementation of the management plan. In: Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) Research Conference, 30 March - 1 April, Perth, Western Australia.


Human use of the coast between Broome and Port Hedland in north-western Australia was examined by undertaking monthly aerial surveys (November 2012 to October 2013) using a Cessna 210 aircraft and two observers equipped with digital cameras and a GPS logger.

Results with respect to the number of people on the shore and number of boats in coastal waters showed that there was much higher usage in the dry season (May to October) than the wet season (November to April).

Areas with highest densities of people were near 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park, Cape Keraudren and Barn Hill and, to a lesser extent, Port Smith and Bidyadanga. Of the people recorded, 46% were fishing from the shore and 33% were walking along the beach.

Fishing was particularly popular near Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park with anglers and their associated four-wheel drive vehicles spread along about 30 km of coastline.

Camping along the coast during the dry season was largely within the confines of the large caravan parks at Eighty Mile Beach and Port Smith but there were also nodes of camping at Barn Hill Station and Cape Keraudren.

Boating activity occurred mainly in the northern part around Port Smith and to a lesser extent near Cape Keraudren. These boats were engaged in recreational fishing or motoring and pearling vessels were also recorded between Port Smith and Barn Hill.

The distribution of human use was also examined relative to the sanctuary zones of the new Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park. This study provides spatially explicit data on coastal recreational activities that can be used by managers as a benchmark of use prior to the implementation of the management plan for the marine park.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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