Navy Adventure Training at Wyadup!

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.

The effort to remove the rope was a true testament to what can be achieved through determination, great team work and collaborative effort, when government agencies work in conjunction with non-government organisations. Tangaroa Blue looks forward to continuing this relationship into the future. A big thank you goes out to Bunnings for their kind donation of a generator, cutting tools and gloves, all used in the removal of the rope and to Big Valley Caravan Park for accommodating the Royal Australian Navy personnel free of charge.

Engaging the help of the Navy was such a great idea, their organisation, teamwork and collaboration meant the task at hand went smoothly and more efficiently than ever expected. Their combined effort deserves commending. A special mention goes to CMDR (Commander) Andrew Nelson and CPO (Chief Petty Officer) Glenn Askew for all the work they put into coordinating their team and for the logistical behind the scenes efforts they both put in to make this event a success.

Tangaroa Blue representative Renee Mouritz said “It is amazing to see the rope gone. After finding it last year and wondering how on earth we were ever going to move it from where it was, given the volume of rope and the terrain it had to be carried out over, seeing it gone makes me realise that anything is possible.”

The rope had the potential to wreak havoc on the marine environment, both as lengths of rope that could easily have entangled a whale, dolphin or seal, and by fragmenting into smaller sections that would have infiltrated the ocean food chain as the nylon rope broke up into fibres small enough to swallow. Two other sections of rope remain in the area, ocean conditions did not allow for their removal so they will be tackled at a later date.

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