Dugongs live in the shallow waters of at least 37 countries and territories
around the world. Throughout their range which runs from east Africa to
Vanuatu between about 26° north and south of the Equator, dugongs
are threatened by rising pollution from the land, coastal development,
boat traffic, entanglement in fishing nets, and hunting and poaching for
their meat and trophies.
Dugongs have already disappeared from some places including the waters
off Mauritius, western Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Japan's Sakishima Shoto
Islands, Hong Kong's Pearl River estuary, several islands in the Philippines
and parts of Cambodia and Vietnam.
Australia is home to most of the world's dugongs which live in northern
waters between Shark Bay in Western Australia and Moreton Bay in Queensland.
One of the reasons for nominating the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage
Area in 1981 was its importance as a feeding ground for large populations
Download the CRC Reef brochure about Dugongs
in the Great Barrier Reef. Current State of Knowledge. April 2002. (Adobe
Acrobat File - 563k).
Dugongs around in the world
CRC Reef researchers based at James Cook University have written a report that will help countries around the world develop plans to protect dugongs. The report is an overview of the status and management of dugongs in 37 countries and territories around the world.
Within their range, dugongs are threatened by rising pollution from the land, coastal development, boat traffic, entanglement in fishing nets, and hunting for their meat and trophies.
Dugongs appear to have disappeared in some places such as the waters off Mauritius, western Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Japan's Sakishima Shoto Islands, Hong Kong's Pearl River estuary, several islands in the Philippines and parts of Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Australia, dugongs are not considered to be under serious threat throughout much of their range which extends from Moreton Bay near Brisbane through the tropics to Shark Bay in Western Australia. However, dugong numbers have declined along the urban coast of Queensland. Along the east coast of Queensland, especially in the Great Barrier Reef region, Dugong Protection Areas and marine national parks have been established to protect dugong.
The report was funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and CRC Reef. It was written by Helene Marsh, Carole Eros, Helen Penrose and Joanna Hugues and is called 'The Dugong (Dugong dugon): status report and action plans for countries and territories in its range'.
For a pdf of the report go to www.tesag.jcu.edu.au/dugong