The West

The public will have the chance to witness a spectacular marine life "hotspot" off WA's south coast when the first expeditions there start next month.

Hundreds of killer whales, sharks, squid, fish and birds have been discovered feeding en masse near Bremer Bay.

A WA research team revealed the natural phenomenon in a documentary screened on the ABC in November.

It is thought to attract the biggest seasonal offshore populations of killer whales - rarely seen in Australian waters - in the Southern Hemisphere.

The orcas congregate for about six weeks a year at a 500sqm hotspot, where the seabed is thought to give off a plume of nutrients that attracts a teeming mass of diverse marine life, including great white sharks and giant squids.

In a bid to find out more about the mysterious spot and the behaviour of the creatures that go there, Esperance filmmaker Dave Riggs, who produced the documentary, is planning a series of daytrips to the area next month.

"I want to provide the opportunity for people to see what's in this area," he said.

"If I get enough support, we can physically afford to do this and feed information back to the general community on a regular basis."

Mr Riggs, who has chartered a 65ft vessel that will accommodate eight passengers at a time on daytrips to the spot near the Bremer Bay canyon, said he hoped the visitors would become "citizen scientists" by helping document the phenomenon.

The daytrips will be made in mid to late February because the aggregation seems to happen only at that time of year.

"It seems to start building in late January. How long it lasts, I'm not sure," Mr Riggs said.

"I can't see how it would support that much life all year round.

"I think it happens for a period up to a couple of months."

Mr Riggs said he also wanted to provide the information to oil and gas companies that have a vested interest in the area in the hope that it will be taken into account when they plan their exploration activities.

People can pledge financial support, including $500 for a place on a trip out to the site, to a crowdfunding appeal at .

Mr Riggs is also hoping to get interest and support from scientists and universities, as well as use acoustic recording equipment and remotely operated underwater vehicles.

The West Australian

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