Patterns of marine debris distribution on the beaches of Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island, Western Australia, receives >500,000 visitors y−1, who are mainly attracted by the Island’s natural values. Marine debris is a threat to both these natural values and to Island wildlife, and is consequently an important issue for managers. Engaging with volunteers, we quantified marine debris at 16 beach sites around the Island. The highest loads occurred on the SW coast and primarily comprised items originating from fishing activities. Sites on the NE coast, where >95% of the Island’s accommodation is located, supported the highest abundance of items deposited in situ (e.g. bottles and cigarette butts). We conclude that marine debris management may require a range of strategies to address the different primary sources. Raising awareness through education and intervention may be highly effective at popular beaches on the NE coast, but broader liaison with commercial and recreational fishers will be necessary to address the issue at the Island scale.

 

Stephen D.A. Smith, Chris L. Gillies, Helen Shortland-Jones, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 88, Issues 1–2, Pages 188–193, 15 November 2014

The article

 

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