About Reef Watch

Reef Watch SA and Reef Watch Vic are award winning community marine monitoring programs that encourage people to monitor marine life along the South Australian and Victorian coastlines. You can find more information about Reef Watch SA activities here and Reef Watch Vic here.

About Feral or In Peril

Feral or In Peril is part of Reef Watch collecting species-specific information from the community and recently won the 2012 UN World Environment Day Award for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Management.

The goal of the Feral or In Peril program is to develop an early warning network of coastal community users to protect our native marine life. We support and encourage community members to identify and report the Feral or In Peril species on this website, and by encouraging boat owners, divers and fishers to keep their boats and gear clean and free of marine pests.

Marine pests ('ferals')

Over the last couple of hundred years, many plants and animals have been introduced into Australia, and of these several have become major problems. In the same way that rabbits and foxes are problem species on the land, there are introduced marine species that can cause significant problems in the oceans.

It is well known that some introduced marine species can cause devastating ecological and economic impacts such as the black-striped mussel that was found in Darwin harbour (Northern Territory), the northern Pacific sea star now found all over the Derwent Estuary (Tasmania) and Port Phillip Bay (Victoria), and the seaweed (Caulerpa taxifolia) that was found in West Lakes and is now present in the Outer Harbour-Barker Inlet region of Adelaide's coastal waters.

It is almost impossible to eradicate a 'pest' once it becomes established in the marine environment but recent experience has shown that it is possible to eradicate a 'pest' species if the population is discovered early enough. This is why it is important that every diver, snorkeller, boat owner, fisher and other coastal community users keep a look out for these species, and report them promptly.

In 2008, one of our volunteers reported the first ever sighting of European fan worms on Kangaroo Island, leading to a significant marine pest program around the island and in Gulf St Vincent, lead by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board in collaboration with the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges NRM Board and Biosecurity SA.

Sightings reports of our three Red Alert species (northern Pacific sea star, Caulerpa taxifolia, and Japanese kelp) are sent in real time to Biosecurity SA so they can make real time management decisions.

Species of conservation concern ('in perils')

Many marine species in Australian waters are virtually unknown. For those that have been identified, there is precious little information regarding life history, ecology or population. The native marine species in SA and Vic listed on this website are those that are considered to be of conservation concern because scientists do not have enough data to assess whether or not they are threatened or vulnerable.

Your sightings, especially when accompanied by a photograph, can help to track individuals over time and can contribute to population information over both SA and Victoria for some species. Information about different species are sent to a variety of research scientists around Australia to contribute to their growing understanding about our amazing marine life.

Negative sightings

Our committee of experienced marine scientists have advised that reports of when people looked for Feral or In Peril species but did not see any are very important. Don't forget to make your report of a negative sighting at the Record a Sighting menu option above. Please be as specific as you can about the location and use the map provided to give us GPS co-ordinates for mapping sightings.

About this Site

The Biological Data Recording System was developed under funding from the Atlas of Living Australia by Gaia Resources.

Software Information

This site is running the Biological Data Recording System at version 584 and the implementation is at revision .

For more information on the software please go to the main Google Code repository.


Conservation Council of South Australia

Leve1/157 Franklin St

Adelaide SA 5000

phone (08) 82235155

fax (08) 82324782


Reef Watch Victoria


Reef Watch South Australia



ConservationSA thanks Internode for its generous support

The Biological Data Recording System is supported by

Terms & Conditions Privacy Statement Powered by the Biological Data Recording System