Edith Cowan University
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Research Need and Objective :
Many sections of the northern WA coastline have become heavily industrialised in the last three decades particularly throughout the Pilbara region where offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration and processing facilities are abundant. There have been recent moves to develop similar industry along the Kimberley coast to access the Browse Basin, a 140,000 Km2 offshore gas field approximately 300km off the Kimberley Coast. This has resulted in extensive debate and the need to define the natural values of this region, which is considered to be one of the world’s most ecologically diverse (WWF 2008).
Given the remoteness of the Kimberley and the costs involved in undertaking research programs in this region, desktop studies of unpublished data are a valuable first step in defining natural values. While unpublished dugong distribution and abundance datasets may not be standardised or provide the capacity for detailed analysis they can provide useful historical snapshots with which to focus future research needs.
This data report reproduces hard copy format maps and summary data collected in two programmes:
1. Estimates of dugong abundance and distribution in the West Kimberley region collected during preliminary assessment surveys conducted by Dr RIT Prince in 1984 and a series of strip transect aerial surveys throughout 1985; and
2. A longitudinal dataset of incidental observations from 1996-2007, covering both the west and east Kimberley collected by the Australian Customs Service.
The strip transect surveys and incidental observation datasets have been entered into a GIS framework with associated metadata. A full description of the methodologies used in the collection of these datasets as well as the processes involved in incorporating them into a GIS framework are listed.