Plastic pollution is no joke, Education Coordinator Hilary Bouma said as she forwards the video of Rusty Swordfish and the latest marine debris film by Jarrod Boord.
“Plastic pollution is not something to laugh about, but we need to get the message out there and start getting people talking about the small actions we can all take everyday to help protect our planet. Read more →
The Fresh Air Kids is a group of local families that want their children to spend time in the great outdoors, learning through playing in nature.
A community partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Fresh Air Kids aims to encourage local coastal kids to grow up observing the environment in more detail than even most adults do. Read more →
Our education team are at it again, finding all sorts of treasures along the coast. This one hails from the Corio Bay but is also an important component of the complex marine ecosystem. Environmental Education Leader Hilary Bouma explains: Read more →
The Great Ocean Road coastline relies on the support of community groups and volunteers to keep this breathtaking part of the world sustainable for future generations. This post is a special post from the Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary (FERMS) who look after the sanctuary above and below the surface. Read more →
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.
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.
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.
New research has confirmed that an invasive species is rapidly adapting to different ecosystems along the coast, allowing it to spread fast and threatening the health of the marine environment.
A team of Deakin University researchers have been studying the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis) in Australia to better understand its potential to expand its geographical range.
The invasive seastar species originates from Japan and is a voracious predator which has a major impact on the marine food chain, devastating marine wildlife.
Deakin University PhD student Mark Richardson has been conducting research to test whether its larvae have the ability to cope with elevated water temperatures, which may determine the seastar’s potential range.
“The experiments have established that Northern Pacific Seastar larvae from Port Phillip Bay have several genetic differences that allow them to adapt to the local environment.
“The same experiments were performed on native Japanese Northern Pacific Seastars to evaluate their genetic profiles and see whether the individuals living in Australia have developed greater tolerance to higher water temperatures.
“The results indicate the Northern Pacific Seastars in Australia have a higher ability to thrive in elevated water temperatures compared to the native Japanese individuals”, Mr Richardson said.
The heightened ability for the seastar to adapt to different water temperatures could pose a threat to the native marine wildlife along the East Coast of Australia.
The Northern Pacific Seastar spreads through ocean currents and could infest waters eastwards from Port Phillip Bay along the coast.
Project leader Dr. Craig Sherman from Deakin University’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said the experiments conducted on seastar larvae would improve understanding about this invasive species in Australia.
“From this research we have developed a better understanding about how seastar populations are connected and how this species is adapting and spreading along the coast.
“We are interested in the ecological impacts the seastar is having on marine communities and the rapid evolution the seastar undertakes to survive in the environment,” said Dr Sherman.
The water temperature research will be able to provide information for future marine pest management strategies in Australia.
Marine pests threaten our local marine environments. To find out more about what marine pests to look out for click here.
Seven organisations have worked together to bring environmental education alive for 170 local students as part of National Water Week and in celebration of 20 years of Waterwatch.
The ‘Creek Connections’ event, which was hosted by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) at Spring Creek, saw the students learn about local water catchments.
The day involved volunteers and staff from Waterwatch, The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Estuarywatch and EcoLogic.
Grade 3 and 4 students from St Therese Primary School, Torquay P-6 College, Lorne Aireys P-12 College and Anglesea Primary School enjoyed everything from ‘water bugs’ sessions and ‘estuary discoveries’ through to a ‘walk and talk’ with Wathaurung Elder Bryon Powell.
GORCC Conservation Officer, Georgina Beale who helped to host a ‘recycle relay’ and conduct planting sessions in threatened Moonah Woodlands said students learnt about keeping water catchments healthy.
“The kids learnt about the interconnectedness of our catchments, rivers, estuary and marine environments and the protection and conservation of our river systems and their dependent eco systems,” she said.
Students worked tirelessly to create water bug costumes out of recycled items for the ‘Terrific Transformer bugs Creative Costume Challenge’ in the lead up to the event.
Winners of the best costume prize received special computer microscopes which will allow their whole class to view water bugs up close on a large screen.
Waterwatch Facilitator, Cate Barham said the diverse range of activities aimed to encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding of marine, estuarine and freshwater environments and Wathaurung culture.
“Everything we do in our catchment can have an impact on our waterways. If you drop a piece of litter, it will eventually find its way to a waterway and then out to the ocean, where it can have devastating effects on our marine life,” she said.
Waterwatch Victoria recognises that only 22% of Victoria’s rivers are considered in good or excellent condition, highlighting the need for action to protect and maintain the health of our local water catchments.
Ms Barham encourages other community members to become active in protecting and caring for their local water catchments by joining a Landcare, Coastcare or Friends group in their area.
“We are all responsible for caring for our catchments and hopefully others will feel inspired by the enthusiastic efforts of our Creek Connections ambassadors,” she said.