Tan­garoa goes na­tional

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - An­gelique Pat­ter­son

PORT Dou­glas- based char­ity Tan­garoa Blue has aligned with the Federal Govern­ment in its fight to re­duce ma­rine de­bris wash­ing up along Aus­tralia’s coast­line.

Tan­garoa Blue’s fight for ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment health is grow­ing in mo­men­tum, with the Aus­tralian Govern­ment’s Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture recog­nis­ing their ef­forts by sign­ing an a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing.

Since TB was founded in 2004, they have col­lected 2.5 mil­lion items of ma­rine de­bris and cur­rently have vol­un­teers lo­cated at over 1000 beaches ac­tively in­volved in their Aus­tralian Ma­rine De­bris Ini­tia­tive.

Founder Heidi Tay­lor went to Can­berra re­cently to sign the MoU be­fore re­turn­ing to at­tend the Dou­glas Reef Rally, be­fore fly­ing back out to a re­mote cor­ner of North­ern Ter­ri­tory 400km west of Dar­win.

‘‘ I’m work­ing with a team Wad­eye who are join­ing the Aus­tralia ma­rine de­bris ini­tia­tive, I am do­ing some train­ing on ma­rine de­bris sur­veys and set­ting up mon­i­tor­ing sites with them,’’ she ex­plained.

‘‘When we first started it was re­ally con­cen­trated where we fo­cused on the rubbish on a small sec­tion of coast line and now we have people in over 1080 beaches around the coun­try, it’s a ma­jor net­work and so hum­bling to know people here in Wad­eye are just as con­cerned about ma­rine pol­lu­tion as guys in ma­jor cities.

‘‘It’s about bring­ing ev­ery­body to­gether and find­ing so­lu­tions, and in Cape York over the last few years we have found stuff that’s posed a biose­cu­rity threat to Aus­tralia and the MoU gives us a huge amount of cred­i­bil­ity align­ing with the federal govern­ment over some­thing as im­por­tant as biose­cu­rity.’’

Ms Tay­lor said when vol­un­teers come across po­ten­tial biose­cu­rity threats they have been deal­ing with the North­ern Aus­tralian Quar­an­tine ser­vice on how to cor­rectly dis­pose of the de­bris and with grow­ing re­ports na­tion­ally, the MoU is en­abling them to stream- line the process.

‘‘It’s also pro­vid­ing us feed­back, the depart­ment is go­ing to send us a six-monthly re­port back on what­ever gets found - some­times we bags of gal­ley-waste from a cargo ship that’s come from the kitchen and some cases old ca­noes and rafts made of wood - you couldn’t bring this in to Aus­tralia if you flew in, it poses a risk,’’ she said.

‘‘In Can­berra we had a meet and greet with the Sea Ports pro­gram, which is part of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, where the MoU is be­ing housed un­der, and the whole DAFF (Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture Fish­eries and Fores- tries) were in­vite to come get an un­der­stand­ing of the Aus­tralia De­bris ini­tia­tive - I think this is a great way to get the max­i­mum use of data.

‘‘Our vol­un­teers on the ground are way more than just rubbish col­lec­tors, they are in­volved in the so­lu­tions, data collection and reporting - now there is more value in their ef­forts.’’

Colin Hunter, from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Bor­der Com­pli­ance Di­vi­sion, said the not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion would work with the ship­ping in­dus­try to min­imise and elim­i­nate biose­cu­rity waste from be­com­ing ma­rine de­bris.

‘‘ The na­tional net­work of Tan­garoa Blue vol­un­teers give up their time to col­lect and log in­for­ma­tion about de­bris that washes up on Aus­tralia’s beaches,’’ Mr Hunter said.

‘‘Know­ing what biose­cu­rity risk ma­te­rial is wash­ing up and know­ing where it’s com­ing from means we can tar­get our aware­ness ef­forts.

‘‘Safe­guard­ing the coun­try from un­wanted pests and dis­eases is a shared re­spon­si­bil­ity; we all need to play our part.’’

Mean­while Tan­garoa Blue is get­ting wide spread pub­lic­ity af­ter three pad­dle­board­ers set off on their chal­lenge to cross the Bass Strait, leav­ing Mon­day from Vic­to­ria to Tas­ma­nia. The guys are cross­ing the Strait to raise aware­ness of ocean pol­lu­tion and fundraise for Tan­garoa blue. The next Tan­garoa Blue clean up is on Lizard Is­land March 6-8 - www.tan­garoablue.org

SIGNED:

Heidi Tay­lor and Colin Hunter sign­ing the MoU

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