Dying sea animals concern experts
EXPERTS on the Great Barrier Reef are calling for increased efforts to protect dugongs and green turtles.
The campaign by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was launched yesterday as news emerged of another dead turtle found at Tannum Sands on the weekend.
GBRMPA is stepping up its efforts to promote smart boating and fishing practices to protect the animals, as record numbers of deaths are being recorded along the coast.
“The evidence is pretty strong that it’s a loss of seagrass and loss of condition (that is the main factor in the deaths),” GBRMPA chairman Dr Russell Reichelt said.
“Essentially these animals are actually staving.”
Dr Reichelt said the extreme pressures being put on the species by low seagrass levels made it more important than ever for boaters and fishers to take extra care.
“We think some of the people who use the marine park can do things to minimise harm to the animals.
"(Even though seagrass is the main problem) that doesn’t mean that boat strikes and occasional accidents with nets don’t still happen.”
He said there was anecdotal evidence turtle behaviour was being affected by the seagrass damage from the floods.
Dr Reichelt said he was looking forward to the findings from the Scientific Advisory Committee recently set up to investigate marine animal deaths in Gladstone Harbour.
He said he hoped it would provide answers to questions that have caused controversy in recent months.
A turtle was found dead on Second Beach in Tannum Sands on Sunday. It was about 1m wide.