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Marine debris (MD) is a serious environmental concern globally. Yet, few studies have reported on MD in sanctuary zones of the Indian Ocean. Consequently, coastal transects were conducted to determine MD quantity, composition and distribution at northern Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Debris density ranged between 0.004 and 0.02 items m-2 with the greatest density near Exmouth township. Composition was predominantly plastic (61%) with fishing-related items (25.5%) and plastic fragments/remnants (16%) the most numerous overall. Land-based and general sourced MD accounted for 88% of all debris. Debris levels were significantly lower at sites with higher visitation and increased distance from access points. There was no significant difference between sanctuary and non-sanctuary zones. Although not immune to MD, this study suggests its remote location, environmental awareness and management strategies implemented at Ningaloo Marine Park may be key to its low MD levels. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Emma L Westlake, Emma Lawrence, Natalie Travaglione, Peter Barnes, Damian P Thomson. Low quantities of marine debris at the northern Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia, influenced by visitation and accessibility. Marine pollution bulletin. 2022 Jan;174:113294

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PMID: 35090279

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