Join Surfrider Foundation in celebrating the annual International Surfing Day on Saturday, June 25. The event will have a 70's theme featuring Morning of the Earth's Tamam Shud, an awards presentation, canapes and drinks at bar prices. Tickets are $50 each or two for $75. Get yours here - tickets are selling fast!
Thank you to all of those who made a donation to protect our oceans, waves & beaches and win Gorilla Tail Pads! All donations made between March 15, 2016 and March 31, 2016 went into the draw to win one of 5 Gorilla Tail Pads. Congratulations to the winners: Rose Welk, Matthew Keating, Tara Geraghty, Chersess Aish & Cherie Noble have been notified via email on April 4, 2016.
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Surfrider's Andy Gray, members from the Parks Australia’s Marine Protected Areas team, CSIRO, and several marine debris NGO representatives finished the Great Coral Sea Clean-up and Bio-discovery Voyage this past Thursday, the 23rd of June.
The Coral Sea covers roughly 1 million square kilometers of water - approximately 3 times the size of its neighbor the Great Barrier Reef - and is home to an array of spectacular reef systems created by underwater mountains. Currently it supports a thriving community of marine life including hammerhead sharks, manta rays, barracudas, white-tip reef sharks and more. But despite its isolation, these reef systems and the organisms that they support are under serious threat. As Andy and the team learned, plastic debris have found their way into these remote habitats and are devastating the lives of so many species, both aquatic and terrestrial. Furthermore, since it is largely unprotected, it is vulnerable to other impacts that effect similar coral reefs, such as illegal fishing, sea-level rise, coral bleaching, and fossil fuel exploitation. It is our belief that with actions taken by communities and individuals around the world, like the Great Coral Sea Clean-up and Bio-discovery Voyage, there is still a chance to save these beautiful reefs and the marine life that depends upon its existence.
If you wish to experience more of the wonderful biodiversity of the Great Coral Sea, or want to develop a better understanding of the devastating extent of marine debris and pollution that exists in the remotest parts of our oceans, check out the brief introduction of Andy's journey here. And remember to stay tuned because at the the end of the month we will be releasing a movie of their journey, which will include exciting photos, video clips of the trip, and information about the crew's discoveries and insights regarding the current state of the Great Coral Sea.
After 2 days of transit in the High Seas, the vessel and its crew arrived successfully to East Diamnond islet for their first clean in the Great Coral Sea. This beautiful coral environment, located 400km offshore, has little to no visitation from the outside world. These habitats do not experience any type of fishing or tourism, and are one of the last reef systems before the Pacific opens up to New Caledonia.
After collecting debris at East Diamond, the crew carried on for the next 3 days for a beach clean at the Lehu reefs – Lorna cay, and studies of Observatory cay and Magdeline. However, despite the fact that the Coral Sea and its reefs are considered to be some of the most distinctive and undisturbed places in the world, the team discovered that each area was highly polluted with a variety of debris- our plastic waste.
Surfrider's Andy Gray describes the first clean of the voyage..
“There were sea birds by the thousands, with hundreds protecting eggs during breeding season, along with thriving marine life and crustaceans. For such a remote location however, the amount of marine debris was overwhelming. Shipping buoys, ropes and drums were among the most common items, but the majortity of our beach hauls consisted of plastic bottles, plastic containers and secondary micro plastics- which was made worse when we found plastic riddled throughout the birds nesting areas.”
These findings are very concerning as these reefs and islands not only provide a habitat for many different types of sea birds, but also serve as important refugees for ocean giants, such as whale sharks and big game fish, and a variety of vulnerable and endangered species of fish, mammals and turtles. It is Surfrider's hope that with effort's like this, along with other organizations around the world, we will be able to improve and preserve these pristine habitats in order to protect the ocean, waves, beaches and organisms that we love so dearly.
In the meantime, while Andy and the crew continue on their voyage, stay tuned here for live updates, photos and stories of their journey!
Photos Week 1:
Surfrider's Andy Gray, members of the Parks Australia’s Marine Protected Areas team, CSIRO and several marine debris NGO representatives departed from Mackay this past saturday, 11th of June, to begin the Coral Sea Voyage. They left the harbor on the Iron Joy (pictured below) to begin their 12 day journey to tackle marine debris and collect research on the species that inhabit the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve.