Moreton Bay still recovering from Queensland floods

15 Sep 2011 0 Share

Volunteers from the OceanWatch removing fishing line from a pelican's wing.

Volunteers from the OceanWatch removing fishing line from a pelican's wing.

Queensland's Moreton Bay is still recovering from effects of the traumatic Queensland floods, earlier this month community members and organisations joined forces to clean up the aquatic area, removing over seven tonnes of rubbish from a 1.84km stretch of primary fish habitat.

Loading debris onto the MSQ Wedge.

Loading debris onto the MSQ Wedge.

Over two days volunteers on boats collected an immense amount of debris from the water. Sixteen people were involved in the cleanup effort on the first day, removing the larger debris which included pontoons and refrigerators. The second day involved 45 volunteers to finish cleaning up the mangroves. Access to the cleanup site was limited to the high tide and only accessible by boat. Despite this limiting factor, over 7 tonnes of debris were removed in three hours.

Brad Warren, Executive Chair of OceanWatch Australia, said, "The local seafood industry throughout the State is still recovering from the floods and this cleanup signifies another step in the right direction to ensure we have a sustainable seafood industry in Moreton Bay into the future. We are extremely grateful for the support of all the volunteers who were involved in the cleanup in Hays Inlet last week. OceanWatch will continue to work with the industry, government agencies and volunteers throughout Queensland over the coming months to improve water quality and marine habitats".

A post-cleanup survey of the marine debris collected identified the following items:
•    7 tonnes of rubbish removed from a 1.84 km stretch of mangroves
•    127 bags of litter consisting of plastic bags, bottles, aluminium cans, plastic bottle tops, Styrofoam, fishing line, clothing, and rope
•    many large items that including 3 pontoons, 3 fridges, pontoon sleaves, brick and wood fencing, wooden posts and pallets, a barrel
•    car items such as tyres and batteries along with a mix of other large assorted debris items.

Cleanup coordinator and local OceanWatch Australia Tide to Table Project Officer, Patrick Sachs, said, "The effort and determination from everyone involved was incredible. All these items have the potential to harm wildlife, pollute waterways and damage habitat vital for a healthy ecosystem. Hays Inlet is recognised as internationally significant under the Ramsar Convention and to restore the area feels great. To top it all off, Moreton Bay Marine Park officer, Anthony Muyt, captured a pelican and removed fishing line that was wrapped around its wing, emphasising the importance for on-ground works and collaborations such as this cleanup".

OceanWatch Australia is a national not-for-profit environmental organisation working to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry. If you know of an area that needs a good cleanup in Moreton Bay please contact Patrick Sachs email – patrick@oceanwatch.org.au or at www.oceanwatch.org.au.

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