MEDIA RELEASE – 14th March 2013
Say goodbye to Bait straps
Marine Debris Cleanup of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, south west coast Tasmania
This Saturday, weather permitting, three boat loads of excited and adventurous volunteers will board a flotilla of commercial fishing boats and return to the pristine coasts of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The mission is a simple one, remove and document every visible item of rubbish on every beach we visit.
The cleanup has been running since 1999 and is the longest remote area baseline marine debris survey in the Southern Hemisphere. Since it began 15 years ago, many thousands of hours have been spent beachcombing some of the most wild and isolated beaches in Australia. To date around 117,000 individual items of rubbish have been collected and itemised. In total, the team have collected over 39000 pieces of broken plastic, 36000 pieces of rope,10000 bait box straps, 6000 plastic containers, 5400 bottle caps, 3200 beer cans, 1400 pieces of trawl net and 5 Ugg boots.
All rubbish collected is sorted into various recyclables with the remainder sent to landfill. The collected data* provides information regarding changes in rubbish types and amounts, and when combined with oceanic circulation models it helps determine where the rubbish is coming from.
This year we have forged a new partnership with the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council in a bid to remove bait related packaging from the fishing bait production cycle. As in South Australia, we are aiming to remove bait straps as a form of packaging. We have collected over 10000 of these since 1999. Bait straps pose a threat to wildlife and litter nearly every beach we visit.
Grade 8 Hutchins High School student Albert Wyatt will be posting a daily blog to the adventure learning Expedition class website. Our blog will also be updated daily.
Please follow our lead, anyone can help by simply putting rubbish in the closest rubbish bin or by picking up rubbish they see lying on the ground which frequently washes or blows out to sea.
The outdoor clothing company Patagonia, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, The Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council and AWM Electrical are financial sponsors providing generous financial support for fuel, boat charter, food and kitting out the team with appropriate clothing. Gillespie's Ginger Beer, The Wursthaus, The Wursthaus Kitchen, Moo Brew, Hill Street Grocer and Miellerie Honey, are in-kind sponsors helping to keep the crew provisioned for the week-long trip.
The most essential contribution is from the commercial fishermen who take us around the coast. Thanks to Dave Wyatt of Southern Ocean Adventures,Mark Webster of Ralphs Tasmanian Seafoods and Fisherman Darren Clark. Normal charter costs for this one week’s boat hire would be close to $60000.
Please follow us on the Daily Blog at: http://wha-marinedebris.blogspot.com/
Mobile: 0419 922 887
Satellite phone: 0404 056 143 from Monday 23rd of March 2013
* Statistics, videos and photos available on the blog