Community & Environment |
Fisheries WA

Marine fish kill at Cottesloe under investigation

The Fisheries division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has been investigating a marine fish kill event at Cottesloe Beach since Thursday 19 October.

Following a report of 50-60 dead starfish, Fisheries and Marine Officers visited Cottesloe Beach to assess the situation and collect samples. Less than 30 dead starfish were observed.

No other dead aquatic animals were reported or sighted.

The affected starfish species appear to be the sand sea star, local to Western Australia and the Whitsundays, Queensland.

Fisheries has investigated similar starfish deaths in previous years and these have been attributed to lifecycle events. Some aquatic animals perish when they are reproductively active and this is part of their natural lifecycle. Also, animals such as these can be washed ashore when swells increase or change and when there are storms.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will continue to monitor the area over the coming days and respond to enquiries. As with all fish kills, the department recommend as a precaution people do not collect, handle, or move any dead starfish.

The public’s involvement is a very important part of the department’s Fish Kill response program. The earlier the department hears about fish kill events, the better chance we have to respond and take suitable samples that will help establish what the cause might be. 

Any fish kills should be immediately reported to the FishWatch 24-hour hotline on 1800 815 507.


Fisheries is responsible for responding to fish kill events that occur in ocean environments. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation manages investigations on fish kills that occur in estuaries, rivers and naturally occurring inland water bodies.

Fish kills can occur anywhere in WA’s fresh and marine waters and can occur at any time of the day and in any month of the year.

Fish kills in open ocean areas like this one, may provide less evidence of a direct cause and we explore all possible explanations. It may not be possible to identify a single definitive cause, but every effort is made to establish probable factors.

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Media contact:
Ashley Malone, Media Liaison, +61 (0)8 9203 0357 or mobile 0418 901 767

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development comprises the former departments of Agriculture and Food, Fisheries and Regional Development, together with the staff of the Regional Development Commissions.