The 2013 WA State Coastal Conference was an informative and motivational event. Did you know that in Albany there are rock formations that fit to within 1mm of those in the Antarctic; demonstrating that we were connected many years ago?
The coastal conference was spread over two days in Esperance with the WA Coastal Awards of Excellence ceremony held one evening. The magnificent coastline of the Esperance region was an inspiring setting for the event. The Tangaroa Blue Foundation had a 20 minute allocation to present our report on plastic resin pellets in the Perth metropolitan area and the evidence of their domestic release to the Swan River catchment. The presentation was well received and the audience were shocked to discover the severity of the issue. This opportunity exposed the issue to the wider community and we hope that it will encourage collaboration with other coastal organisations and institutions that were listening, so that we can tackle this problem in a sustainable way.
The Tangaroa Blue Foundation are honoured to report that our Australian Marine Debris Initiative was the proud recipient of the Coastal Environmental Initiative WA 2013 Coastal Award of Excellence. The awards ceremony was held at Esperance Mini Golf and was a great chance to build up a network with other people that attended and to get further recognition for the work that the Tangaroa Blue Foundation carries out. It was particularly enlightening to be approached by a ranger from Broome after receiving the award who stated that he felt proud when the Tangaroa Blue Foundation won as he had helped by participating as a volunteer. We would really like to thank all of our volunteers, none of this would be possible without you.
There were some underlying themes common throughout the conference. It was acknowledged that Australia’s scientific research of the coastline is active and to a good standard but the real challenge is in implementing this knowledge to make a difference during coastal planning. We need to adopt an integrated approach to coastal planning; issues cannot be solved by single organisations or councils. We need solutions that are able to adapt over time due to issues such as climate change. It was stated that 85% of the population of Australia live within 50km of the coastline. The population is constantly expanding therefore the pressure on the coastline is increasing. These are all issues to consider when looking at marine debris management plans.
Dr Gary Middle summed it up by saying that you have to look down to see the smaller things (e.g. scientific detail), but you also have to look up to see the bigger picture and how it all fits together. This is something that the Tangaroa Blue Foundation will take on board.