Department of the Environment and Heritage, July 2005
The identification guide can be downloaded as a single document or as separate documents specific to each marine species.
- Protected marine species identification guide - Complete document (PDF - 4436 KB)
- Protected marine species identification guide - Cover (PDF - 141 KB)
- Protected marine species identification guide - Introduction (PDF - 309 KB)
- Loggerhead Turtle (PDF - 216 KB)
- Green Turtle (PDF - 198 KB)
- Leatherback Turtle (PDF - 239 KB)
- Olive Ridley Turtle (PDF - 216 KB)
- Hawksbill Turtle (PDF - 229 KB)
- Flatback Turtle (PDF - 200 KB)
- Grey Nurse Shark (PDF - 205 KB)
- Great White Shark (PDF - 227 KB)
- Whale Shark (PDF - 192 KB)
- Speartooth and Northern River shark (PDF - 239 KB)
- Freshwater Sawfish and Red Handfish (PDF - 238 KB)
- Handfish (PDF - 222 KB)
- Sub-antarctic Fur Seal (PDF - 221 KB)
- Southern Elephant Seal (PDF - 240 KB)
- Australian Sea Lion (PDF - 237 KB)
- Australian Fur Seal (PDF - 266 KB)
- New Zealand Fur Seal (PDF - 219 KB)
- Dugong (PDF - 170 KB)
- Whales Dolphins (PDF - 166 KB)
- All Sea snakes and Seabirds (PDF - 256 KB)
- All Pipefish, Seahorses and Sea dragons (PDF - 263 KB)
- Reporting interactions with protected species (PDF - 217 KB)
About this document
Australia is fortunate in having a variety of amazing marine life. Some species are unique to Australia, but all contribute to Australia's rich marine biodiversity. Unfortunately, many species face a range of threats from human activity, and so are in need of protection.
The Australian Government's main piece of conservation legislation is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The species shown in the Protected Marine Species Identification Guide are listed under the EPBC Act and are therefore protected in Commonwealth areas.
Under the EPBC Act, it is an offence to kill, take, trade, keep, or move a listed species in a Commonwealth area, unless you have a permit. Additional offences relate to cetaceans (whales and dolphins), such as deliberately causing interference. Under the Native Title Act 1993, Indigenous Australians exercising a legitimate native title right, do not require a Commonwealth permit to interact with listed species.
For more information on the EPBC Act visit: www.environment.gov.au/epbc/index.html
The Commonwealth area includes marine areas beyond the coastal waters of each State and the Northern Territory, and includes all of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ extends to 200 nautical miles (approximately 350 kilometres) from the coast. In some areas, the Commonwealth area also covers the continental shelf and slope, beyond 200 nautical miles. It also includes the waters in the EEZ around the Australian Antarctic Territory and Australia's External Territories, such as Norfolk, Christmas, Heard and Macdonald Islands.
On occasions, interactions with protected species occur as a result of an unavoidable accident or incident. Under the EPBC Act you are legally required to report such interactions to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) within seven days of the incident occurring, or you could face a fine. By promptly reporting interactions you are meeting your legal obligations, and will assist the Australian Government in its efforts to protect marine species.
When reporting interactions, please include:
- time and date
- species name
- number of animals
- location (latitude and longitude if possible)
- incident type (e.g. by-catch, collision)
- gear or bait type used (if fishing).
For incidents that occur as part of commercial fishing you are also requested to report interactions to the regulating Fisheries Agency, such as the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, or your State Fisheries Agency. In most instances this should be done through normal reporting mechanisms such as logbooks or catch documentation schemes.
Reporting Interactions with Protected Species
Our marine life can die from getting tangled in, or consuming discarded fishing gear and bait straps. Please don't throw fishing gear and bait straps overboard.
The Australian Government values your assistance in promptly reporting interactions with a protected species. To report an interaction in a Commonwealth area, which you were involved in or that you witnessed:
Call: 1800 803 772
Department of the Environment and Water Resources
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
If you are in any doubt – report it!
For more information visit: www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/cetaceans/legislation/notification.html