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‘Seal the Loop’ bins are to be installed at Moggs Creek and Eastern View fishing locations to encourage proper disposal of fishing waste and reduce threats to marine life.
Zoo’s Victoria, in partnership with Melbourne Zoo Community, have donated three Seal the Loop bins to the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) after the popular fishing spots were identified as litter hot spots.
Conservation Officer Danielle Knox said incorrectly discarded fishing waste can be mistaken as food and ingested by wildlife which can be passed on to their young and result in injury or death.
“30 species of marine animals including seabirds, turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks are listed as ‘at risk’ of injury and fatality caused by ingestion of, or entanglement in, harmful marine debris,” she said.
Seal the Loop bins are already installed in Lorne, Torquay and Anglesea and research shows the bins are helping in the fight to reduce marine wildlife entanglement rates.
According to Zoo’s Victoria, a 2013 study revealed that 56% of coast users who came across a Seal the Loop bin changed their waste disposal behaviour as a result.
GORCC Outdoor Works Supervisor Phil Brown said litter was an ongoing issue on the coast.
“The litter ends up back in the ocean where it can harm both marine life and beachgoers,” he said.
While GORCC staff undertake regular beach clean ups, litter remains a problem, particularly in more popular fishing areas.
“The new bin locations have been chosen based on popular fishing spots where litter has been identified as an issue,” Mr. Brown said.
Ms Knox urged community members and local anglers to take care when disposing of fishing waste.
“If there is not a Seal the Loop bin in your area, you can ask your local council to sign up for a bin which are offered free of charge to any organisation, council or group who agree to install and maintain them,” she said.
If you notice any injured or distressed marine wildlife, please call the AGL Marine Response Unit team on 0447 158 676.
If you would like to become involved in the 2014 Seal the Loop Action Day to be held November 14, email Danielle Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep up to date by searching #sealtheloop on Twitter @zoosvictoria.
Two endangered Hooded Plover chicks have hatched at Eastern View and are striving to survive.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation (GORCC) Officer Georgie Beale is urging all beachgoers to keep dogs on a leash, adhere to all signs, stay away from fenced nesting areas and enter the beach via designated pathways.
“Three precious chicks hatched last week and two are now thriving whilst one unfortunately died due to unknown circumstances.
“Unfortunately, the breeding habits of ‘hoodies’ put them at risk.
“The birds do not build nests, they breed during the busy summer season and any disturbance from people or animals drives the adult birds away from their chicks,” she said.
GORCC has worked with volunteers and Birdlife Australia to rope off the nest area and install signs to ensure the chicks are protected.
Ms. Beale commended the volunteers, Birdlife Australia and the community for their enthusiasm and cooperation in helping to protect the chicks.
“The volunteers have also done a fantastic job in monitoring the chicks since they hatched.”
“Dog owners have been very cooperative and we have received a lot of support from beachgoers who stop to have a look,” she said.
An information session was held at the site over the long weekend to inform the public about the chick’s arrival and the importance of protecting them.
A telescope was set up on the site to give community members chance to view the Hoodies from a distance.
Despite the arrival of these precious new locals, the Hooded Plover is still very much endangered. The species is already extinct in Queensland and northern New South Wales and in November 2010 there were only 569 adult birds left in Victoria.