Posted: 3 years 1 week ago

This year marks 25 years since the area surrounding the Solitary Islands was first gazetted as a Marine Reserve, to later become known as the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP). To mark the occasion, celebrations were held with many guest speakers drawn from user groups, stakeholders, and the scientists who originally recognised the unique attributes of the Solitary Islands, telling their stories to a large audience at Coffs Harbour Surf Club. At times moving, other times very funny, the stories flowed continually during the day long session.

SURG the organisation has been around... Read more

Posted: 3 years 1 month ago

With all the talk of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and, closer to home, in the Solitary Islands, it is good to know that some corals are healthy and seem to be thriving among their bleached relatives.

Acropora sp . corals, among some others, appear to have been able to withstand local conditions, so far at least, and there are some excellent examples at all of the usual offshore island locations.

... Read more

Posted: 3 years 1 month ago

SURG members are currently undertaking emergency surveys to assess the worst coral bleaching ever seen off the Coffs Coast. Water temperatures as high as 27.5 degrees were registered at South Solitary Marine Park in March, causing widespread bleaching on corals growing as deep as 20m.

The surveys complement the research project, Health of coral communities in the Solitary Islands Marine Park (2012 - 2015), and are being conducted at the same locations, using the... Read more

Posted: 3 years 2 months ago

SURG members and local dive operators have witnessed severe bleaching in the Solitary Islands, in particular the Pocillopora variety of coral.

The bleaching follows prolonged high seawater temperatures along the NSW coastline. These unprecedented levels even exceed the mass coral bleaching events in 1998.

A SURG three year study of coral health which concluded last year found the corals to be in generally good health. With recent reports of bleaching SURG is planning to conduct more surveys, using the same methodology, to assess the impact of this year's high water... Read more

Posted: 3 years 2 months ago

The statistics are in and they show a huge amount of garbage was collected on Clean-up Australia Day. In all over 2700 items weighing 179kg were collected from the transects, and an estimated further 80kg picked up from adjacent random sites.

This effort by SURG members prevented the garbage from entering the ocean and damaging our marine environment.

Twenty five SURG members were involved in this clean up and spent many hours after collecting the garbage identifying the type, material and size.

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Posted: 3 years 2 months ago

The social meeting held on March 2nd featured a senior local member of ORRCA, Darren Ramsey, who gave a lively and thought provoking presentation on ORRCA and the work the organisation carries out helping marine mammals in distress.
ORRCA, which stands for Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia, is the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia. They are also involved with the protection and welfare of dolphins, seals, sea lions and dugongs, and work with Government authorities and other groups with marine mammal rehabilitation... Read more

Posted: 3 years 2 months ago

This year SURG not only participated in the Clean Up Australia Day activities but also used the garbage collected to investigate the types of rubbish that have landed up in Coffs Creek.

This study followed the research of Toby Ekman, a Southern Cross university student, who conducted a study in 2014 to investigate the effectiveness of pollutant traps in the creek. SURG's clean up used the same methodology as Toby with 30 volunteers collecting garbage at 6 locations along the creek.

Clad in gumboots and gloves this group scoured through the mangroves to collect the debris.... Read more

Posted: 3 years 2 months ago

The Solitary Islands underwater interpretive trail was first installed in early 2003 and apart from a regular cleanup and the replacement of some broken plaques and direction markers in 2014, it has remained remarkably intact. As part of the maintenance of the trail, SURG members periodically undertake to clean the algae and other organisms off the plaques, allowing visiting divers an informative tour of a very interesting part of North Solitary Is. These photos show several SURG divers brandishing paint... Read more

Posted: 3 years 6 months ago

SURG members, Steve Smith, Bob Edgar, Matt Nimbs and Ian Shaw, recently took part in the inaugural Sydney Sea Slug Census, centred on Bare Island, at La Perouse, southern Sydney.

Following in the footsteps of the Port Stephens Sea Slug Census organised by CHUG (the Combined Hunter Underwater Group) , the organisers of this event, the Underwater Research Group of Sydney (URG) and Southern Cross University, hope to hold at least two censuses a year across the wider Sydney area.

Around 30 participants took part with two teams tying for first place and the SURG team of Bob... Read more

Posted: 3 years 6 months ago

During the SURG estuary research project, SURG members have found number of abandoned traps in the local creeks. Some of these located had fish trapped inside. Some fish were released but one dead fish clearly died from starvation. Under the NSW Fisheries regulation it is illegal for unauthorised personel to remove traps without a special permit. Therefore SURG members will make sure the abandoned traps don't hold fish or other organisms and give the Fisheries Compliance Officers the GPS coordinates so they can remove them. SURG will also seek a permit to remove these traps. Read more