An End to Marine Debris

Unfortunately, a somewhat misleading, yet optimistic title for this article; NACC NRM’s ‘Mitigating Marine Debris Impacts on Threatened Seabirds at the Houtman Abrolhos’ project with Halfmoon Biosciences has officially come to an end.

Last week, our Coastal & Marine team held a final presentation and discussion of the project results and outcomes, hosted at the Museum of Geraldton.

Over the course of this two-year project, with help from many fantastic volunteers, more than 60kg of marine debris has been removed from Osprey and Lesser Noddy nests and adjacent shorelines at the Abrolhos islands, to be sorted and analysed.

The first year of data collection set a baseline, with the second year of surveys representing the amount of debris that is lost or uncovered within a year. As expected, we saw a dramatic reduction in debris present in both Osprey and Lesser Noddy nests, as well as adjacent shorelines.

However, the amount and types of debris present in the second year data highlights the significant threat of marine debris in this environment, specifically to seabirds who build their nests with materials from the shoreline and sea.

This project worked to identify the sources of predominant marine debris found in nests and on shorelines, and quantify its impacts. NACC NRM’s Coastal & Marine team engaged with a diverse and passionate group of stakeholders to encourage and develop targeted community engagements, and formulate a collaborative source reduction strategy.

This project has seen a clear reduction in the amount of plastics, ropes, and other debris in Lesser Noddy and Osprey nests, as well as increased community understanding of impacts to seabirds from marine debris.

Thank you to all of our partners and supporters who made this project so successful!

This project was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Alanah Campbell – Coastcare Support Officer

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