Queensland’s Northern Gulf Resource Management Group’s (NGRMG) Carpentaria Ghost Net Program won the Indigenous ‘Caring for Country’ Banksia Award 2007.
Sea Rangers had noted that turtles were being caught in ‘ghost nets’ – fishing nets that have been lost accidentally, deliberately discarded, or simply abandoned at sea and travel with the currents and tides, unattended, catching not only threatened species but undersized and protected fish as well.
As much of this coastline is the breeding and foraging ground for 6 culturally and ecologically important species of marine turtle, there was a real concern that so many were getting trapped and dying.
The largest nets found in the Gulf so far are Taiwanese gill nets estimated at weighing around 5 tonnes which would measure when stretched out approximately 4 kilometres in length with a drop of 12metres.
Sea Rangers and volunteers from 18 different Indigenous communities all around the Gulf of Carpentaria are finding ways to work together to get rid of marine debris in their sea country.
The Rangers collaborate with other non-government organisations, calling themselves ‘the saltwater people’, a name which recognises the shared concerns and custodianship for marine wildlife. The project is managed by NGRMG who have received $A2M over a three year period from the Natural Heritage Trust.
The Project Has Three Aims:
- To clear the Gulf coastline of existing nets to stop them re-entering the ocean,
- To collect useful information about these nets to assist negotiations by various parties in stopping fishing nets becoming Ghost Nets, and
- Capacity building of Indigenous Rangers to continue work on ghost nets beyond the life of this project.
Established in 1989, this Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation that promotes environmental excellence and sustainability through its Awards program which is regarded as the most prestigious environmental award in Australia.
The Foundation also organises the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award and is in partnership with other Environmental and Sustainability Awards.