A Record-Breaking Cleanup in Wuthathi

Wuthathi Ngaachi (Country) and Karakara (Sea Country) is located in the area surrounding Shelburne Bay on the North Eastern coast of Cape York, about 800km north of Cairns.

It is a place full of incredible cultural significance and biodiversity, and the landscape absolutely takes your breath away. However, unfortunately the beaches are heavily impacted by marine debris from locations far and wide.

In June the Tangaroa Blue team had the privilege of being Welcomed onto Wuthathi Ngaachi to work alongside Custodians, Elders and members of the Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation, and together we broke records!

Watch the video to learn about some of the incredible achievements which included:

  • 10.8 tonnes removed from just 2.8km of the coast
  • 1.3 tonnes of net and rope, 856 fishing buoys and floats, 6 ghost nets removed
  • Over 300,000 items removed!!
  • Four AMDI monitoring transects completed with all data included in the AMDI Database
  • First helicopter clean-up event for our biggest clean-up haul ever, thanks to Heartland Helicopters!

With fishing litter dominating the debris in Cape York, the team was able to use handheld trinamiX spectrometers to identify plastics for the Tangaroa Blue’s Rig Recycle program. The program allows volunteers to instantly identify usable and recoverable plastics for processing and recycling, and over 2.2 tonnes of marine debris was diverted from landfill using this method.

The clean up has helped implement the Wuthathi Healthy Country Plan, where marine debris is listed as a major threat to Marine Totems, Islands, Coastal Ngaachi and Reefs and Seagrass beds. We would like to extend a massive thank you to the Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation for the opportunity to work together for this important cause.

The event was made possible through the support of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water, Reef Trust, The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Border Force, Cape York Natural Resource Management, Ocean Conservancy, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), BASF / TrinamiX and University of NSW.

Video Gus Burrows / Styledia

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