Rope, rope and more rope!

In fourth term, students form St Bernard’s Santa Monica Campus ventured down to one of the beautiful remote stretches of coastline in Victoria. We centred our clean up on the beach at Aire River and monitored the debris over a two month period. While the high tide mark was littered with the usual amount of small plastic pieces we concentrated most of our time and energy on the large rock shelves at either end of the beach. Here we found a huge amount of rope and fishing gear, all deposited and tangled in the rocks at the high tide mark. We used knives and even garden loppers to untangle and retrieve as much as we could on both trips. All of the ropes, about 200 metres in all, were synthetic, meaning they would take decades to break down. It’s pretty clear from what we found that fishing trawlers are responsible for most of the debris washing up on these beaches. There was a lot of netting as well as bait baskets and floats. We will continue to monitor this stretch of the coast during late summer and autumn next year.

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