Walking on a beach in the gulf – if you are observant – you could see whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions and any number of bird species. But the greatest biodiversity is below the surface, and unless you scuba dive or snorkel, the best chance of getting to know what lives in our coastal waters is by beachcombing.
Beachcombing is a true joy. You never know what you might find – even on metropolitan beaches. Early morning is best, while the sand is still smooth after the high tide, and the gulf’s treasures are dotted along the beach.
The things that are washed up on the shore are an indication of what is living in our coastal waters, reefs and seagrass beds.
Suggestions for happy and ethical beachcombing:
- Take a camera – you never know what you might see!
- Be aware of local regulations about removing things from beaches – particularly in National Parks
- Never remove living animals or plants– put them back into the water!
- Carry a bag to collect rubbish
- Report unusual or hazardous things on the beach to the local council
- Useful phone numbers
- Fishwatch – 1800 065 522 (to report unusual species, shark sightings, pest species etc)
- DEWNR – 0400 939 443 or 0400 998 656 (marine mammals – stranded or injured, or being harassed)
- Dead marine mammals – 1800 065 522 (Fishwatch) 0412 708 012 (SA Museum) or your local NPWS