Bad behaviour harming coast

Illegal behaviour on coastal reserves such as lighting fires, littering and destroying vegetation is impacting the environment and sparking safety concerns, with the Jan Juc clifftops a particular problem zone. Read more

Fishing waste threat to coast and pets

An increase in fishing waste left illegally on Surf Coast beaches is impacting the environment and the community with one report of a dog swallowing a hook at Anglesea this week.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald and GORCC Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft with a Seal the Loop bin in Torquay.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald and GORCC Education Coordinator Pete Crowcroft with a Seal the Loop bin in Torquay.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) has noted an increase in hooks, plastic bags, fishing line and other fishing-related waste, particularly in Jan Juc and Anglesea.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald said fishing waste not only impacts the coastal environment and marine animals, it is also harmful to beach users and animals.

“This major source of pollution remains on the beach until it is washed directly into the ocean.

“It is disappointing that a small number of individuals don’t respect the very environment they are drawing resources from,” she said.Marine debris image ocean health index

A visual representation of the quantity of marine debris in our precious waterways.  Image: oceanconservancy.org
A visual representation of the quantity of marine debris in our precious waterways.
Image: oceanconservancy.org

Ms. MacDonald said that dogs could be drawn to hooks left on the beach, particularly when hooks were surrounded by discarded bait remains such as sardine heads and bones.

“We have one report of a dog swallowing a hook at the Anglesea Main Beach and another report of a near miss,” she said.

While the dog affected by the hook has been given the all clear, the incident serves as a timely reminder for all beach users to discard of waste properly.

“Dispose your rubbish properly and care for the environment you came to enjoy.

“GORCC urges all anglers and fisherman to take responsibility for their fishing waste and consider the safety of humans, pets, sea creatures and the protection of our coastal environment in general,” said Ms.MacDonald.

GORCC has installed Melbourne Zoo’s specially designed ‘Seal the Loop’ bins at multiple fishing locations along the coast.

Seal the Loop bins have been placed in popular fishing areas all along the Victorian coastline.  Image: Zoos Victoria
Seal the Loop bins have been placed in popular fishing areas all along the Victorian coastline.
Image: Zoos Victoria

“The bins, which are made of recycled plastic waste, make it easy to dispose of fishing waste in a way that ensures it will never harm wildlife or beach users,” said Ms. MacDonald.

GORCC currently has Seal the Loop bins at Torquay Main Beach, Torquay Point, near the Anglesea River, on the Lorne Pier and along the Lorne Foreshore.

GORCC has recently applied for two additional Seal the Loop bins to be installed at the Jan Juc Surf Club car park and the Moggs Creek boardwalk.

Keen fishermen and anglers wanting to make even more of a difference can take responsibility for their rubbish and take it home to be disposed properly off-site.

More information can be found on the Seal the Loop website.

Education is key

Education is the most important tool when it comes to fighting the ongoing battle with litter.

With more than 270,000 tonnes of rubbish polluting the oceans and more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, it is no wonder rubbish is a lethal threat to marine animals.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) conservation staff along with dedicated volunteer groups continually remove litter from our coastal areas throughout the year with increased efforts over the busy holiday period.

A huge proportion of mis-handled waste ends up back in the ocean where it harms marine life.
A huge proportion of mis-handled waste ends up back in the ocean where it harms marine life.

GORCC conservation supervisor Georgie Beale is disappointed at the amount of litter in our oceans and believes that education is vital in reducing its presence in our coastal environments.

“Education is the key to overcoming the battle with litter. Getting kids to change their behaviour and bin their rubbish will make a huge difference to the environment.

“We have incorporated marine debris into our educational programs to inform people about how important it is to keep our beaches clean,” Ms Beale said.

“We teach groups about the Take 3 for the Sea campaign which is a simple idea that encourages everyone to take three extra pieces of rubbish with them as they leave the beach.

“Our biggest challenge is reaching those who don’t care and don’t understand their impact on our unique marine wildlife which is why educating young children is so important,” Ms Beale explains.

The amount of litter in the oceans is constantly increasing. Much of it degrades very slowly. Plastic bottles and nylon fishing line are particularly durable. Although many plastics break down into smaller fragments, it will take decades or even centuries (estimated timescales) for them to disappear completely. Source: Maribus (World Ocean Review)
The amount of litter in the oceans is constantly increasing. Much of it degrades very slowly. Plastic bottles and nylon fishing line are particularly durable. Although many plastics break down into smaller fragments, it will take decades or even centuries (estimated timescales) for them to disappear completely. Source: Maribus (World Ocean Review)

Top 10 marine debris items

  1. Cigarettes/ cigarette filters
  2. Bags (plastic)
  3. Food wrappers/ containers
  4. Caps/lids
  5. Beverage bottles (plastic)
  6. Cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons (plastic)
  7. Beverage bottles (glass)
  8. Beverage cans
  9. Straws, stirrers (plastic)
  10. Bags (paper)

Local Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast volunteer John Foss said the educational programs that are offered in schools and through GORCC are making a huge difference in teaching the next generation about the hazards of litter.

“What we need is for people to stop treating our coast as an ashtray.

“Unfortunately it is often the visitors that cause the most damage to the coast as they have not received the education locals have about caring for our environment.

“We need a national anti-litter campaign that targets young people and beachgoers in a multilingual format to get the message across,” said Mr Foss.

Although we cannot eliminate the world’s marine litter, we can make a difference along our precious beaches by encouraging others to keep the beaches clean.

Click here to find out more about volunteering along the surf coast.

How do you look after our coast? Comment below.

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Surfcoast Shire's Cr David Bell together with GORCC's Georgie Beale encouraging beachgoers to take 3 pieces of rubbish when they leave the coast this summer.Take 3 to keep coast healthy

Beach Kinder a hit with kids

An excursion to the beach provided an exciting new classroom for Jan Juc Preschool kids recently.

The students spent three sessions at their local beach learning about the importance of the coastal environment as part of ‘Beach Kinder’ – a free educational program. The eager little participants learnt about local plants and animals and the danger beach litter poses to the environment and the animals that live in it.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) led the sessions which saw a beach treasure hunt, cliff top walk and more.

 

Jan Juc Preschool kids building sandcastles with items collected in the treasure hunt.
Jan Juc Preschool kids building sandcastles with items collected in the treasure hunt. Photo: Jan Juc Preschool

GORCC conservation worker Pete Crowcroft believes that it is necessary to educate young children about their local surroundings and how to preserve it.

“It is a very beneficial program as it helps them to think about the environment and what belongs at the beach and what doesn’t while having fun,” Mr Crowcroft said.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale teaches Jan Juc Preschool about what belongs at the beach.
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale teaches Jan Juc Preschool about what belongs at the beach. Photo: Jan Jus Preschool

The kinder kids participated in a beach treasure hunt with some exciting finds including shark eggs, sea stars and a bottle nose dolphin spine,  examined fossils in the cliff face and learnt about the endangered Hooded Plovers.

GORCC Conservation Worker Pete Crowcroft holding a dolphin spine as part of beach treasures.
GORCC Conservation Worker Pete Crowcroft holding a dolphin spine as part of beach treasures. Photo: Jan Juc Preschool

Jan Juc Preschool teacher Jane Wilson said she hopes the activity will become an annual event.

“The Jan Juc Preschool has a philosophy of supporting children with their education of the local environment and to support children to appreciate and learn to care about their local areas and this program fitted in perfectly to this philosophy.

“The beach is an integral part of living [in Jan Juc] and the discussions are ongoing. The excursion brings together the ongoing discussion we have over the year.

“Interesting stories about the various uses for kelp in ice cream, toothpaste and Vegemite is something the children will remember for a long time,” she said.

Jan Juc kids listening as GORCC Conservation Worker Pete Crowcroft talks about beach litter
Jan Juc kids listening as GORCC Conservation Worker Pete Crowcroft talks about beach litter

For more information about GORCC’s educational programs and how to get involved, click here.

Coastal Expedition for Kinder Kids!

The kids from Anglesea Kindergarten enjoyed an educational coastal excursion last week to Anglesea Main Beach.

The exciting expedition, facilitated by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) is part of a free program designed to encourage people of all ages to understand and respect our beautiful coastal environment.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s Conservation Supervisor, Georgina Beale engaged the kids in fun, educational activities.

“The aim of the excursion was to teach the kids about the importance of conserving their local coastal environment in a simplistic and interactive way, ” Ms Beale said.

“We covered topics such as marine fauna and flora, the impacts of litter on our marine environment and discussed the kids own beach experiences,

“The kids had great fun participating in a mock beach clean-up, a beach ‘treasures hunt’ as well as games and races, ”she said.

GORCC's Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale facilitated fun coastal activities for the Anglesea Kindergarten kids.
GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale facilitated fun coastal activities for the Anglesea Kindergarten kids.

Ms Beale believes it it vital to educate children about the important of preserving our coast at a young age.

“Our younger generations will be the future custodians of our coastal environment, so it is important for them to learn to nurture and respect our beautiful coast while enjoying it as the same time.”

The GORCC Environmental Education and Activities Program is free and provides participants of all ages with opportunities to learn about and care for coastal environments. Activities are led by experienced conservation experts who have teaching experience and a wealth of knowledge about coastal environments.

For more information about GORCC’s Environmental Education Programs, click here

Australia’s dirtiest beaches exposed!

Research conducted by the CSIRO has determined Australia’s dirtiest beaches.

The two year survey, which investigated over 175 beaches, revealed that Border Village, on the coast between Western Australia and South Australia was the dirtiest beach in Australia. Pearse’s Road Beach claimed the title of Victoria’s filthiest beach.

Beach detritus
Beach litter and marine debris are a serious issue. Follow some easy steps and will make a positive impact on the issue.

The CSIRO study revealed that more than 150 million pieces of litter across Australia’s coastline.

Plastics were found to be the most prominent form of litter across Australian beaches, which can have serious repercussions on marine wildlife and coastal environments.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation (GORCC) Supervisor Georgie Beale believes this should be a reminder to keep our own local beaches pristine.

“While our coastal beaches are far better than some in terms of cleanliness, there is always room for improvement,” she said.

There are a numerous ways you can ensure the cleanliness of our beautiful beaches.

  • Dispose of waste correctly in the bins provided around the coast
  • Take your rubbish with you when leaving the beach
  • Dispose of recyclable material correctly
  • Ensure that fishing gear and supplies are not left behind on beaches
  • Report any entangled marine life
  • Join a local volunteer group on a beach clean up

“We all play a part in keeping our beaches pollution free for everyone to enjoy,” Ms Beale said.

Below is full a list of the dirtiest and cleanest beaches of each state in Australia:

  • New South Wales:
    Dirtiest: Shelly Beach, Manly
    Cleanest: Red Rock Beach, NSW North Coast
  • Northern Territory:
    Dirtiest: Cape Arnhem
    Cleanest: Cape Hay
  • Queensland:
    Dirtiest: Barney Point Beach
    Gladstone
    Cleanest: Mackay
  • South Australia:
    Dirtiest: Border Village (SA)
    Cleanest: Nora Creina
  • Tasmania:
    Dirtiest: East Kangaroo Island (West Gulch)
    Cleanest: Cape Grim
  • Victoria:
    Dirtiest: Pearse’s Road Beach
    Cleanest: Gibbs Track Beach, Lakes Entrance
  • Western Australia:
    Dirtiest: Ellensbrook Beach
    Cleanest: 80 Mile Beach

For more information on keeping our coast clean and volunteer opportunities, click here.

Kinder coastal conservationists

Jan Juc pre-school students participated in a hands-on environmental education session in Jan Juc recently with the aim of fostering a life-long love for the coastal environment.

The activities, which were coordinated by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), are part of a free program designed to encourage others to understand and respect their beautiful coastal surroundings.

Conservation Team member Peter Crowcroft shows some kelp the Jan Juc Pre School kids

Teacher Jane Wilson said the children thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were able to better connect to where they live.

“The day gave the children lots of opportunities to build on their understanding of their world and learn about becoming responsible to care for their environment.”

“We discussed littering and all the reasons we need to take any rubbish home and leave only our footprints or the sand castles we make.”

beach day 045

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgie Beale said the children learnt about the marine and coastal environment and explored relationships between living and non-living things

“We also encouraged the kids to become more aware of change and the impact of human activity.”

The children also learnt about coastal vegetation, including the importance of habitat for birds and animals.

Pre schooler Georgie Wall with seaweed

Ms Beale said the GORCC education program offers schools and groups a practical way to make a difference to their environment and the skills and understanding to help protect and enhance the coast.

“We encourage children to be involved in practical experiences relating to their environment and helps them to feel connected to their world, and in this case, their unique and special back yard,” said Georgie.

“We want everyone to love, protect and enjoy our beautiful coast as much as we do and it’s great to have the opportunity to get the children involved in hands on learning about their local coastline.”

The GORCC Environmental Education and Activities Program is free and provides participants of all ages with opportunities to learn about and care for coastal environments. Activities are led by experienced conservation experts who have teaching experience and a wealth of knowledge about coastal environments.

For more information on GORCC’s Environmental Education Programs, click here. 

This article featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column – check it out here.

Our top 3 tips for staying safe and having fun in the sun

Australians, and our many overseas visitors, have a profound love for the coastline and the Surf Coast is home to some of Australia’s most scenic and popular beaches.

teenager surfing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each summer, the surf coast population almost doubles with visitors. In the lead up to the holiday season, here are our three top tips for having fun in the sun and playing it safe at the beach this summer.

1.    Swim between the flags
We all love a day at the beach, but it is important to remember the surf can be unpredictable. That’s why lifeguards put up red and yellow flags to show you the supervised area. The majority of Australians know this, but over half sometimes swim outside of the flags.

If you are thinking about swimming, make sure you know which beaches are patrolled or unpatrolled to ensure your safety. You can view a full list of patrolled beaches and key dates in Victoria on Life Saving Victoria’s website here.

During summer, many of our surf coast beaches are patrolled by life savers with red and yellow flags indicating the safest areas to swim at each beach – please swim between the flags.

2.    Take care near cliffs & high tide marks
Many cliffs along the Great Ocean Road coast, particularly in the area between Jan Juc and Point Roadknight, and also at Aireys Inlet, can be unstable due to high tides and erosion. It is important to read and pay attention to advisory signs, take care near cliffs and keep to designated walking tracks.

There are also areas of seasonal coastal shoreline erosion which can also create unstable, temporary ‘sand cliffs’. These are not like normal cliffs and are more prone to collapse.

3.    Take 3 for you, me and the sea
Our beaches are often lined along the tide marks with plastics, bottles, cigarette butts, fishing line and hooks, and other rubbish discarded by people. Not only can litter pose threats to physical safety, it also poses a major threat to marine life.
Most beaches along our surf coast have rubbish bins positioned in strategic locations so you don’t have to walk too far to dispose of your litter.

Remember to dispose of your rubbish appropriately or pick up three pieces of rubbish every time you leave the beach and help protect our beautiful coast and its marine life.

Other tips for ensuring your safety in or by the water can be found on our website.

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Take 3 to keep our coast healthy

Illegal littering constantly threatens the Surf Coast and you can do your bit and participate in a clean beach initiative to ensure a healthy coast for all.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) is partnering with Surf Coast Shire to organise a beach clean-up as part of the Take 3 initiative on the 29 November in Lorne.

Surfcoast Shire's Cr David Bell together with GORCC's Georgie Beale encouraging beachgoers to take 3 pieces of rubbish when they leave the coast this summer.
Surfcoast Shire’s Cr David Bell together with GORCC’s Georgie Beale encouraging beachgoers to take 3 pieces of rubbish when they leave the coast this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The message behind ‘Take 3′ is simple – a visit to the beach should involve swimming, lying on the sand and rubbish collection – and asks people to pick up three pieces of rubbish every time they leave the beach.

Surf Coast beaches are among some of the most beautiful in Australia and GORCC encourages the community to get behind this initiative, ensuring our coast remains healthy for all to enjoy.

GORCC Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said rubbish dumped illegally on our beaches and coastal reserves causes harm to the environment and also threatens coastal flora and fauna.

“One problem is that a large amount of household waste is often disposed of in public bins provided for beachgoers.”

“Not only is this illegal, but it causes overflow and litter on our beaches that is not only visually horrible but threatens coastal flora and fauna and the marine environment,” Mr Goring said.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said litter, including fishing line, poses danger to beach nesting birds and other coastal and marine wildlife, and urges beachgoers to do their bit and keep our coast clean.

“Marine debris, particularly plastic, has a disastrous impact in our oceans and on marine life with some of the dead seals and birds washing up on the coast have swallowed or been strangled by plastic bags, fishing line, bits of nets and other rubbish.”

“With breeding season underway for our precious Hooded Plovers, it’s especially important we don’t leave rubbish lying around as Hoodie’s can become easily entangled in fishing line on the beach, and we’ve seen this happen in the past.”

“Visitors to the Surf Coast are encouraged to embrace the Take 3 initiative by picking up three pieces of rubbish as we leave the beach,” she said.

Beachgoers are urged to use the bins provided on the grassed foreshore areas and adjacent to sand areas to dispose of rubbish.

“By doing your bit and disposing of rubbish, you will be contributing to a healthy coast for everyone to enjoy,” Ms Beale said.

For information on the beach clean-up contact Georgie Beale on 0417 523 463

For information on the Take 3 initiative visit www.take3.org.au.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column

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