Category

Marine debris

Keep fishing rubbish onboard

By | Boating and fishing, Marine debris | No Comments
Anne Whalley

Litter Ambassador Anne Whalley reckons the initiative to install tangler bins at boat ramps and jetties is a cheap and effective way to keep tangled fishing line out of harm’s way. These tangler bins are one way to Bin It – You know it’s right!

Commercial and recreational fishers see the impact of litter every time they are out on the water. From ghost nets to plastic bags, Anne Whalley has seen the damage caused to the marine environment as a result of rubbish being thrown overboard or entering the ocean through stormwater drains.

“Entanglement and unnecessary death of marine life is often seen as a result of litter that has not been disposed of properly,” said Litter Ambassador, Mrs Whalley. “I have been involved in the seafood industry for 50 years and litter is certainly becoming increasingly obvious at sea. Once litter enters the ocean it just keeps moving and is very difficult to get rid of.”

Mrs Whalley said many regulations have been introduced to reduce the impact of commercial operations. “Commercial vessels are required to have toilets on board, use special booms for refuelling, use non-toxic antifouling paints, carry absorption pads on board to clean oil spills and to keep rubbish on-board until returning to port,” she said. “All of these things help reinforce the importance of disposing of rubbish properly.” Read More

Keep fishing line off the reef

By | Boating and fishing, Marine debris | 2 Comments
Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond (right) is concerned about the amount of fishing tackle being left behind on our reefs. She is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to put rubbish in its place. Pictured here with Reef Check Australia director of programs and partnerships, Jennifer Loder and just a sample of the fishing debris removed at a regular clean up location. Photo: Reef Check Australia

Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond (left) is concerned about the amount of fishing tackle being left behind on our reefs. She is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to put rubbish in its place. Pictured here with Reef Check Australia director of programs and partnerships, Jennifer Loder and just a sample of the fishing debris removed at a regular clean up location. Photo: Reef Check Australia

Wide Bay and the Fraser Coast regions are endowed with majestic whales and turtles, stunning beaches and a beautiful array of marine birds, all of which are threatened by discarded plastics and fishing line.

Below the water line, Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond encounters the damaging effects of marine debris caught on the reef. She said there are at least 77 marine species in Australian waters that are directly impacted by litter in the ocean.

“Marine debris can be ingested, or animals and birds can become entangled, leading directly to their death or the loss of circulation to limbs resulting in amputation,” said Ms Salmond. “It is unacceptable that a 70 or 100-year-old turtle could survive a generation in the open ocean only to have its life ended by a plastic bag it mistakes for a jellyfish.”

“Our volunteers see the amount of debris that ends up on our beaches and in our oceans through community clean ups, and reef health surveys, including tiny bits of broken up plastics. It has been documented that small pieces of plastic are being fed to chicks of a variety of bird species and we know that chemicals leached from plastics and other sources are found in the flesh of fish and inside plankton. This bio-accumulation of chemicals and micro-plastics in the food chain will pose threats to animals and humans long into the future and needs to stop.”

The reefs in our region provide habitat for many marine creatures and are a drawcard for fishers, divers and tourists. Popular fishing spots often carry the greatest burden of fishing line and tackle from the ‘ones that got away’ or from being snagged on the reef itself. Ms Salmond is encouraging fishers to do what they can to reduce the amount of line left underwater.

“It is generally not safe to recover line and tackle once the line has snapped, but fishers can reel in as much line as possible when they realise the line is caught,” she said. “There are biodegradable line options available now and although more expensive than ordinary line is safer for the environment and worthy of consideration.”

Likewise, when fishing off the beach or rocks try to recover as much tackle as possible and never litter or bury bait bags. The tangler bins located at boat ramps throughout the region are a great initiative and make it easy to dispose of tangled line at the end of a fishing trip.

Ms Salmond said items such as plastic straws, coffee cups and other drink containers left behind by beach goers continue to degrade our beaches. She suggests we all take up the challenge to choose not to take a straw when we buy a drink and to choose glass bottles or aluminium cans instead of plastic bottle.

“An even better choice is the take your own coffee cup or drink bottle,” she said. “Many people think that take-away coffee cups are biodegradable but this isn’t the case.”

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.