Drone footage captured in late 2018 showing a Green Sawfish (Pristis zijsron) aggregation in the shallow waters of Garig Gunak Barlu Cobourg Marine Park footage was unprecedented anywhere in the wide Indo-West Pacific range of the species and suggested that this site may not only be nationally, but also internationally significant for this highly threatened species.
Drones and Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) will be used to characterise recently-identified sawfish aggregation areas within the Garig Gunak Barlu Cobourg Marine Park. A scoping trip was undertaken during the period 15–22 March 2019 which aimed to assist in planning field surveys. From the scoping trip it is apparent that there are likely to be numerous locations throughout the Marine Park where Green Sawfish aggregate (several of which could be surveyed using the proposed methods), and the Marine Park is likely to be a hotspot for elasmobranch diversity generally.
This report outlines access and permits required to undertake research in the Park, environmental conditions as they relate to undertaking planned research, potential sampling sites, future sampling trips, and risk associated with the planned research.