VI­TAL TO ECO SYS­TEM

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

It’s great news that we have many lo­cal res­i­dents who are con­cerned about the cockle pop­u­la­tion of Cockle Bay ( East­ern Courier, July 26). Cock­les are a vi­tal link in our whole eco sys­tem and must be pro­tected.

Apart from pro­vid­ing food source for mul­ti­ple or­gan­isms, in­clud­ing hu­mans, their fil­ter feed­ing sys­tem clarifies the sea by re­mov­ing minute or­ganic par­ti­cles. By main­tain­ing the bal­ance of na­ture, we can pro­tect their wel­fare for the next few thou­sands years.

Mul­ti­ple fac­tors ef­fect their pop­u­la­tion. Over har­vest­ing is merely one of those. Changes in sea tem­per­a­ture ef­fect sur­vival of the cockle lar­vae.

Sud­den over­load of clay par­ti­cles washed into the sea from land de­vel­op­ment can choke the cock­les of oxy­gen.

Green al­gae from agri­cul­tural an­i­mals and fer­tilis­ers can smother them, in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of sprays, heavy met­als from mo­tor ve­hi­cles, and sim­ply wash­ing your car and al­low­ing the run off to go down the road­side drains is detri­men­tal.

Dis­charge from sewage sys­tem or build­ing de­vel­op­ment into the stream can have a dis­as­trous ef­fect on the stream and beach health.

I com­mend the Cockle Bay Do­main Restora­tion Project re­cently started by con­ser­va­tion­ist Matthew Bra­jkovich and sup­ported by a grow­ing group of vol­un­teers.

They aim to re­store the en­tire do­main and wider area to it’s nat­u­ral habi­tat by re­mov­ing all the pest plants and an­i­mals along­side the stream, and as­sist­ing lo­cal prop­erty own­ers to iden­tify and elim­i­nate pests on their places that may be in­fect­ing the public land and water ways.

Im­prov­ing the stream and land health around the beach is a huge fac­tor in main­tain­ing the cockle pop­u­la­tion.

Bron­wen John­son Cockle Bay

Shell­fish gath­er­ers dig­ging on a stormy day at Cockle Bay.

‘‘The sur­vey didn’t show an im­me­di­ate sus­tain­abil­ity is­sue.’’

If a de­cline from 72 mil­lion to 21 mil­lion over five years is not an im­me­di­ate sus­tain­abil­ity is­sue, I would like to know what is?

That is over 10 mil­lion per year over the last five years.

So, if the de­cline con­tin­ued for an­other two years, the bed could be wiped out.

Of course this would not

A few weeks ago, I vis­ited Cockle Bay and though of­fi­cers were there, many got away with more than al­lowed.

We need more of­fi­cers. Not good.

Ross Whit­low Shelly Park

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