Reducing marine debris our responsibility in protecting aquatic life

Killed it: These are the ropes that slowly killed the humpback whale that is now buried at Nobbys Beach in Port Macquarie. Photo: Supplied
Killed it: These are the ropes that slowly killed the humpback whale that is now buried at Nobbys Beach in Port Macquarie. Photo: Supplied

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WHILE the community is concerned with the possibility of increased shark activity, there are more pressing issues at stake according to the Mid North Coast Coastal Warriors group.

President Addam Lockley said he understands the community’s concerns, however it was a sad situation.

“It is an unfortunate opportunity to raise awareness to the community of the impacts marine debris cause,” he said.

“It is clear that this whale died from fishing nets and it upsets me that this beautiful mammal will not be making the trip home south due to irresponsible human activity.”

After clearing the ropes off the whale last week, Port Macquarie Marine Rescue traced the waste that killed the whale back to Tasmania.

“This event has clearly highlighted how ocean pollution does not only affect marine life but the ramifications it can have on a community,” Mr Lockley said.

“I do believe there may have been better options to remove the carcass which would of taken more time and had added cost, but would of provided better outcomes for all parties.

This event has clearly highlighted how ocean pollution does not only affect marine life but the ramifications it can have on a community.

Addam Lockley

“If I was in charge I would be contacting the fishing company responsible. I understand the debris had information labelled on them.

“I would ensure they were fined and have that company pay for the removal and disposal of the mammal.”

World Animal Protection says every minute one tonne of lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear enters the oceans.

Known as ghost gear, it injures and kills thousands of whales, seals, turtles and other sea animals every year.

World Animal Protection is working around the world to combat this global issue.

Ben Pearson, Senior campaign manager at World Animal Protection said the sad situation reiterates that people and companies need to be careful.

“This is a really tragic situation. World wide we have heard horror stories of whales and other animals entangled in nets and fishing gear, exhausted, starved and unable to go on living,” he said.

“It’s something that we all worry about, which we should, because these poor animals are taking months to die a slow death.

The whale struggles as volunteers try to free it from the ropes off Shelly Beach on Sunday, September 17. Photo: Ivan Sajko

The whale struggles as volunteers try to free it from the ropes off Shelly Beach on Sunday, September 17. Photo: Ivan Sajko

“The commercial industry is a small contributor to the waste in the ocean, however the Australian fishing industry is doing a great job and I’m not going to sit here and say otherwise.”

Mr Pearson said the federal government needs to finalise the Threat Abatement Plan for the impact of marine litter on marine animals.

“Increasingly, the contribution to ghost gear in the ocean as we call it is from recreational fishing,” he said.

“We would really encourage those people to get information on how you can make sure you are minimising gear loss, and also please do the right thing.

“Dispose of things properly, because it can and does have a huge impact on animals.

“Every day people can also help, simply by picking up any litter they see when they leave the beaches.”