Keeping our marine parks ‘debris-free’
The Coral Sea Marine Park is one of our unique parks. At almost 1 million km², it is our largest park and the only one containing a significant number of cays and islets.
The marine park begins approximately 60km from the Queensland coast out to 1100km at its most easterly point.
Recently, Parks Australia staff travelled out to the Coral Sea Marine Park on a joint research voyage with scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.
While researchers undertook underwater survey dives, officers from the Marine Parks Branch concentrated on assessing the presence of micro-plastic in the water and marine debris on the small islets and cays. Ocean debris is a global problem and understanding the type, source and prevalence of this debris will help us better determine its impacts on our parks.
Most of the debris found was plastic bottles and rubber thongs, and the largest piece of debris found was a plastic sun lounge, possibly lost from a cruise ship. The debris collected was recorded and bagged and the data has been provided to Tangaroa Blue, an organisation working on the problem of ocean plastics.
Further voyages will replicate this work to better understand any changes over time.
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