Mandurah SOS

A natural treasure on our doorstep, 80kms south of Perth lies the Peel-Harvey wetlands.

Chairman of the Peel Harvey catchment council Andy Gulliver says if we continue with business as usual, we'll pay the price. "Effectively this waterway behind me will be a dumping ground; it'll be a big sewer pipe. You won't be able to boat and fish, you won't want to boat and fish there."

The key to maintaining our way of life, protecting these wetlands.

They're nature's natural filter, a buffer zone between the land and the shore, and a home for our wildlife.

It's estimated 80% of wetlands on the swan coastal plain have been destroyed. And even though we've come a long way in protecting what's left, they're still incredibly fragile and far from safe.

Andy says "Fifty years down the track if we don't do what we need to do today when they come to this region behind me they're actually going to see what will effectively be a sewer pipe." and that, would be a tragedy this area is labelled globally significant by UNESCO's Ramsar treaty.

When WA's Young Australian of the year Rhys Williams was growing up, this was his backyard. Rhys reckons, tourism is the key to making sure future generations get to have as much fun here, as he has. "Every person that's been to Mandurah has got a story about crabbing on the estuary or fishing down at the beach, hanging out with their friends on the estuary and I think when we think about those stories that are the reason people want to be part of the environment and that's the obvious reason we protect it."

Thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the region this year, Rhys says, bring it on.

Andy and Rhys agree - education is key to making sure people enjoy this area sustainably.

According to the catchment council, protecting the wetlands future is incredibly simple, if you follow these common sense rules.

Put your rubbish in the bin

Put your dog on a leash

Stick to the speed limits

Don't feed the animals

Teach your kids the right way to play

For more information about the crabbing season, including bag limits, visit : www.fish.wa.gov.au/Species/Blue-Swimmer-Crabs/Pages/Blue-Swimmer-Crab-Recreational-Fishing.aspx