Substantial and ongoing growth in coastal and port development, recreational boating and commercial shipping around Australia is increasing the potential for adverse interactions with marine species. This is exacerbated by growing populations of some whale species such as humpback whales.
For large marine fauna, the two major risks are vessel collisions (particularly for marine mammals and turtles) and cumulative exposure to chronic noise (across a wide range of species). Greater research focus and better methodological frameworks are needed to quantify the time and location that these risks are high, to help direct resources and monitoring toward developing and implementing appropriate management strategies.
This project combined existing data such as vessel density, speed and noise levels with species distribution/habitat models to identify Biological Important Areas (BIAs) and produce fine-scale relative spatial risk profiles. These risk profiles can be used to identify when and where marine fauna and shipping overlap, and to work through a question and answer process designed to help minimise the risk (see Table 9 in the main document). This includes evaluating relative risk, research and resourcing options, and the likely effects of management/mitigation approaches.