Tangaroa Blue Foundation in conjunction with AusWaste led a team of 16 volunteers and boat crew to complete the Far North Queensland Island Hop Clean-up from 16th – 22nd December 2019 visiting 10 sites between Cooktown and Lizard Island.
Everyone found their sea legs and were highly motivated to be moving between the islands removing marine debris, loading the tenders and sorting through 1 tonne of debris on the mother ship for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database to stop items at the source.
The debris load had signature items similar to that of the Cape York clean-ups with the majority being made from plastic and foam materials. Simon from OceanWatch Australia was on board to investigate and implement source reduction plans on national and international commercial fishing waste such as tuna trackers.
Considering the location of these islands, it was interesting to note that the water bottle debris that was found originated from many different countries including Australia, Peru, Brazil, South Korea, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, and the Philippines.
There was even an opportunity to collect historical evidence, as the group took the time to visit the crash site of the plane Steak and Eggs which came down on 11th June 1944, on the beach of Low Wooded Isle.
However, it wasn’t all work, and the crew was able to enjoy some recreational activities. The region is renowned for its snorkelling offerings, and of course, the fishing is excellent.
The event was part of the ReefClean project which is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, which aims to remove and prevent marine debris along the Great Barrier Reef region. The event was also supported by AusWaste and involved partners from OceanWatch Australia and AUSMAP.