18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometre of ocean.
276 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation focused on the health of our marine environment, and coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, an on-ground network of volunteers, communities, organisations and agencies around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline.
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is one of the great gods, the god of the ocean. He is the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Sky and Earth. Tangaroa is the father of many sea creatures and his breaths are the tides. Tangaroa made laws to protect the ocean and its sea creatures "Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki"... If you look after me, then I will look after you..."
The organisation was named Tangaroa Blue Foundation to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans and creating programs and resources to help communities look after their local coastal environment.
The ocean and all that live in it are much better off thanks to the removal of over 1.3 tonne of rope earlier this month from a beach near Yallingup. The rope, a discarded commercial fishing longline, washed ashore last October during big storms and ended up on a section of rocky coastline between Canal Rocks and Wyadup.
The sheer volume of the rope and the difficult to access location left Tangaroa Blue and government agencies scratching their heads as to how best remove this threat to the marine environment. Finally a plan was hatched with Tangaroa Blue consulting with DPaW's Ngari Marine Park rangers to engage the help of the Royal Australian Navy. A team of 20 Royal Australian Navy personnel from HMAS Stirling made short work of the estimated 6km of rope, cutting it into manageable sections using both hand and power tools, and bagging it up to be carried out to an awaiting vehicle. In total 106 bags of rope were carried out, weighing a combined 1329 kilograms. Photo credit ABIS Julianne Cropley Royal Australian Navy.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation tackled Orpheus Island this week with a total of 18 volunteers hiking an hour to the East side to clean up a remote, 300 metre long beach. This site has been periodically cleaned up by Orpheus Island Research Station volunteers in the past, however due to the 1 hour hike back to the station volunteers are unable to bring their debris collection back with them, thus starting two large designated debris dump piles that just grew every year.
For the third year running Tangaroa Blue Foundation volunteers, have been joined by a team from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Lockhart River State School students and teachers, and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers for a clean-up along iconic Chilli Beach, in remote Cape York.
This 6.7km section of coastline in the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park is for the moment marine debris free, with over 3.4 tonnes of mainly plastic pollution being removed by volunteers over the 5 day event.
Not only was the 3.4 tonnes removed from the beach, but data was collected for inclusion in the Australian Marine Debris Database, which is used to track debris to the source, and to create strategies that prevent rubbish and waste from entering the environment in the first place.
The Great Barrier Reef Photo and Video competition for the 2014 Cairns Underwater Film Festival is now open for entries with a massive prize pool worth over $70,000.
This year we have a new video category and will be raising money for local marine charities: the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation, the Minke Whale Project and the Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
The competition is running over the next three months leading up to the festival, with entries for the film competition closing on the 12th July, whilst the photo competition closes on the 23rd July. Festival organisers are now calling on local underwater photographers and filmmakers to get their entries ready.