ReefClean Mural at Causeway Lake a success – Fishing Tackle Litter reduced by 80%

Capricornia Catchments partnered with Tangaroa Blue through the ReefClean Program along with Livingstone Shire Council to engage local artists Martin Schlick from Mash Designs and emerging artist Rebecca Johnston to create educational murals for the Causeway Lake Buildings.

The murals aim at reducing fishing tackle pollution at Causeway Lake. With help from BirdLife Capricornia, these murals highlight the significant, rare, and sensitive wildlife that relies on the area and the impact litter and fishing tackle litter has on wildlife.

In conjunction with the artwork, several clean-ups in the area were undertaken to collect data and monitor the effectiveness of the mural on users’ litter behaviour.






Results show that there has been a significant reduction in litter and marine debris volume. Fishing tackle specific litter has reduced by 80% and general litter showed a major decrease of 49% overall.

Capricornia Catchments also received anecdotal feedback from community members saying that they have noticed a positive difference in the cleanliness of the Causeway Lake recreational area.

Overall successful results in reducing litter at the Causeway Lake recreational area through the combination of artwork, collaboration and community involvement. However, ongoing work is still needed in the area.

This project would not have been possible without the ongoing support from Livingstone Shire Council, the Regional Artist Development Fund, Tangaroa Blue Foundation and ReefClean.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Governments Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

Rubber Crumb Loss from GBR Play Areas

Many play areas have soft fall surfaces made of recycled rubber tyres applied as small pieces of crumb (1-5 mm in size). The use of rubber crumb in playgrounds and synthetic sports fields has been around for over a decade, although there has been a recent increase in investment in this product to try and deal with the more than 48 million tyres reaching end of life every year in Australia.

Rubber crumb and the chemicals associated with these (e.g. metals, PAHs, tyre anti degradants), however, have been found in international studies to leach into waterways and cause harm to aquatic life. Limited information exists on the potential loss and impacts associated with local sites and with the Great Barrier Reef considered a sensitive ecosystem, a focus on this region was considered a priority.

As part of the ReefClean project, Tangaroa Blue Foundation and AUSMAP developed a source reduction plan to quantify the amount of rubber crumb escaping from playground surfaces, and work with councils to identify ways to reduce the loss of rubber crumb into the Great Barrier Reef.

The full report is available here.

Don’t Dump on Our Reef

The team at Tangaroa Blue Foundation have set out to educate the public about the harmful environmental effects of dog waste and propose methods of green disposal in order to further reduce the environmental impact associated with pet ownership.

Many dog owners see their pets’ waste as a natural product, which leads to a large number of dog owners leaving their dog waste to degrade in the environment. Despite this statement being of truth, dog waste does contain a large number of pathogens and nutrients. The environment is able to break down these pathogens and nutrients up to a certain load, however current statistics from the Australian census demonstrate that a large number of dogs are registered within suburban areas and that numbers are on the rise (with an increase just shy of 1 million from 2013 to 2019). This has led to an increased load of waste produced within a smaller area, surpassing the environmental threshold for natural waste management.

The pathogens found in dog waste can be toxic to humans, with many parasites and infections readily transferable to the human body (for example; Salmonella, Campylobacteriosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Toxocariasis, Hookworm infection, Echinococcosis (caused by tapeworms) and Giardia). Not to mention your beloved pets’ wandering nose could also readily pick up any of these harmful parasites and infections from any dog waste left behind by previous owners, or even worse your dog waste could infect somebody else’s beloved pet! In regards to an increased nutrient load within the environment, this can directly impact the quality of neighbouring water bodies within the catchment area leading to excessive weed or algae growth.

For those dog owners that do pick up their pets’ waste, many use plastic products to do so. This in turn creates another debris item, and often is not disposed of correctly. When considering green methods of disposable it is important to understand what the doggy bag is made of (for example avoid items containing petrochemicals and instead use items made of cornstarch).

The team at Tangaroa Blue Foundation not only wanted to highlight the negative environmental impacts that dog waste has, but also provide responsible pet owners with a green solution on how to dispose of it. For more information click here to view our double-sided factsheet.

In an attempt to make the conversation of dog poop a little more fun, an interactive personality quiz based on association was drafted to determine “What Kind of Dog Owner Are you?”. The personality types for the quiz were based according to a scientifically credited psychology paper, which states there are 5 types of dog owners in regards to how they approach the situation of their dog’s waste (Lowe, CN et al., 2014). A graphic design company, 55 Knots, generously donated their time to create caricatures depicting each of the 5 types of personalities based on the following descriptions. The team at Tangaroa Blue Foundation would like to thank the team at 55 knots for their generosity and excellent work.

Find out what type of dog owner you are by taking this short quiz:

For a breakdown of the types of dog owners follow this link:

What Kind of Dog Owner are you? – Tangaroa Blue

We’re Hiring! Project Coordinator – Melbourne

Title: Project Coordinator
Location: Remotely from home, Melbourne. Part time

Tangaroa Blue Foundation (TBF) is an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris: one of the major environmental issues worldwide. We do this by removing what’s already out there, stopping the flow of litter into the ocean and reducing the amount of waste produced.

The Project Coordinator role supports the Management team in the successful delivery of TBF projects, provides expertise and knowledge associated with the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database data collection and entry and provides on the ground support, problem-solving and solutions.


About the role

No two days will be the same. One day you might be on the ground auditing litter traps throughout Melbourne, the next developing or reporting on source reduction projects.

Overall you will be responsible for supporting the organisation, delivery and reporting of project activities. You will need to effectively communicate activity status and submit all required documentation to TBF management for reporting and collaborate with project partners and volunteers to deliver activity outcomes in a respectful and professional manner.

This is a part-time role, working remotely from home.

About you

  • You have a keen interest in environmental stewardship, including minimising the impact of marine debris on marine and human life across fresh or saltwater country.
  • With at least 18 months of experience in project management, you are capable of supporting and delivering on-ground projects and coordinating volunteers.
  • You’re just as comfortable getting your hands dirty in the field as you are in the office.

Specifically, you have:

  • Current First Aid and CPR certificates;
  • Blue Card or Working with Children Check;
  • Computer literacy in the Google suite; and a dedicated home office (including laptop/PC and mobile phone);
  • A full drivers licence and car.

While not necessary, applicants with public speaking, data collection and reporting or knowledge of and experience in working with culturally diverse groups will be highly regarded.

How to apply:

Send your cover letter and CV to to apply.

Date published: 09-Nov-2021

All aboard the SV Whitehaven.

As part of a collaborative venture between Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Reef Catchments and Reef Check Australia students embarked on a journey of a lifetime known as the Marine Classroom. Students jumped aboard the SV Whitehaven and headed out to the spectacular Mackay Islands to learn about the impacts of marine debris, weeding and pest management, and reef monitoring methodologies.

Students conducting underwater reef health surveys through snorkelling

Over the course of 2021 there were two scheduled marine classrooms. Marine debris expert Mathilde took on the battling winds, swell and rain earlier this year, during the first instalment of the program in April. The testing weather conditions did not dampen the students from Sarina State High School’s enthusiasm as they conducted reef surveys with Jenni from Reef Check Australia, pulled out invasive weeds with Carlos and Steve from Reef Catchments and cleaned up the 1km of beach along Scawfell Island, entering what was found into the

Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database with Tangaroa Blue staff. Some of the most interesting debris items audited from surrounding beaches included a foreign flare which had been lit as well as a number of foreign plastic water bottles that looked almost brand new!


During their downtime students were able to engage in fun activities such as kayaking

Weather conditions were described as perfect by Tangaroa Blue team member Kara-mae, during the second instalment of the program in September. Students from Mackay North State High School engaged in a beach clean-up activity, covering a 1.5km stretch of beach along Brampton Island collecting a total of 33.5kgs of marine debris. Students were able to determine sources of foreign bottles and learn about the importance of preventing the debris from entering the environment through discussions about source reduction. Sally and Clara from Reef Catchments highlighted many of the invasive weeds on the island, such as Pink Periwinkle, Snakeweed and Cobbler’s Pegs. Many students learnt the hard way about how weeds can easily spread during the tedious task of removing the Cobbler’s Pegs seeds from their clothing. Jenni from ReefCheck highlighted the importance of Citizen Science through the explanation of three different methods of reef monitoring techniques.

Students at Scawfell Island learning about the invasive weeds present

It is one thing to learn about environmental impacts and how they can be managed from a lecture slide, however it is another thing to experience it first hand in the field. The marine classroom program sparked passion from students at both schools;

“I’ve come here because I love being in the ocean and I want to make sure it’s protected for future generations”

“It was very interesting to hear about the AMDI database. In the future I will use it to log any debris items I find during a clean-up activity. We (the school) do these kinds of activities often”

This Reef Catchments Marine Classroom project received grant funding from the Australian Government through the Australian Heritage Grants Program. The charter vessel component of the Marine Classroom project is funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Assist Program and delivered by Reef Catchments and the crew aboard the SV Whitehaven.

The SV Whitehaven which was home for the students and staff members during their 3 day and 2 night marine classroom adventure











Page 1 of 10