The team comprising of the GMY Rangers, Tangaroa Blue, Blue Planet Marine and Parks Australia staff departed for the Coral Sea aboard R.V Infamis in November.
The purpose of the 14-day voyage was to collect, remove and analyse marine debris accumulated in the Diamond Islets and Lihou Reef within the Coral Sea Marine Park (CSMP) and assist in restoring the islands of the Park to their natural state.
The marine debris collected on the trip has now been recorded and entered into the AMDI Database and all microplastic data recorded and samples taken on the voyage has been submitted to AUSMAP for testing.
The team clearly worked hard for those 14 days, as they collected 2,687kgs of marine debris! This equates to 279 bags full and 27,208 debris pieces.
The top items were:
– Hard plastic remnants (13,892)
– Plastic lids/tops (4232)
– Plastic drink bottles (1479)
– Rope and net scraps (1404)
– Rubber thongs/soles (1165)
Some more obscure items found were 4 tuna trackers, 13 eco-bricks and 3 silver canisters (which are hazardous items).
The removal of marine debris from the Coral Sea Marine Park will improve the visual environmental health of the sites visited, maintaining the Coral Sea Marine Park as a world-class natural protected place.
The data collected on this voyage will also build on the evidence base of marine debris generated in or entering the Coral Sea Marine Park and assist in identifying and monitoring future impacts to the park. Data collected on the voyage will be used to inform decisions on marine debris reduction strategies in the Coral Sea Marine Park into the future, for both Parks Australia and other stakeholders.
A huge thank you must go to the GMYPPBC, who has been a long-term partner of Tangaroa Blue and we’re very grateful for the opportunity for the GMY Ranger team to participate in this important voyage and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The voyage is a project through the Our Marine Parks Grants program receiving funding from the Australian Government and seeks to support the achievement of Australian Marine Park (AMP) objectives.
Photos by Tideline Productions