MARINE INJURIES CERTAIN TO SOAR
SEA World is preparing for a spike in injured marine life as the school holidays begin on the Gold Coast.
Marine sciences director Trevor Long said the combination of warmer weather and September school holidays led to an influx of animals caught in fishing line or hit by boats.
“We see seabirds on almost a daily, weekly basis, usually with fishing line entanglements,” Dr Long said.
“We know it will ramp up in September, especially with the good weather.”
Dr Long said about 80 turtles injured by boat strikes, crab pots and fishing gear were treated by Sea World each year.
Jet-skis and boats skimming over shallow seabeds affected fish, turtles and even dugongs, of which there was a resident population of four to six in the area, he said.
Liz Hawkins, founding director of Dolphins Research Australia, said she saw a dolphin struck in the Broadwater recently.
“That part of the group around the Broadwater have a lot of scarring from fishing line entanglements and boat strikes,” she said. “The majority are with offspring ... they have to work through a busy, narrow channel.”
Dr Hawkins said there appeared to be a lot more dolphin injuries throughout Moreton Bay and the Broadwater than other areas she had worked in.
She said dolphins in these areas had become habituated to the presence of people and looked for food sources close by which led to injuries.
Boaties are legally required to keep a distance of at least 50m from dolphins and 100m from whales.