SURG members turned out in force to conduct underwater marine debris surveys at Red Rock Saturday last, 22nd November.

Using protocols designed by the National Marine Science Centre and promoted by Underwater Volunteers NSW, 10 members surveyed a portion of the estuary adjacent to the shop and up towards the boat ramp. Members first ran out 25 metre tapes, end on end, in approximately 3 to 4 metres of water parallel to the bank. Then using slates and underwater paper, each piece of debris within 2.5m either side of the tape was recorded and after the surveys were completed, the debris was removed from the river.

As expected the debris found in this heavily fished area consisted mainly of fishing line, both monofilament and braid, lures – mainly soft plastics, hooks and sinkers. Pleasingly there was little in the way of other plastic materials, bottles and metal items and the river looks to be in good condition. Judgement was used when removing bottles from the creek as some of these have become valuable habitat (see picture) but where filled with sand or broken they were removed.

Red Rock locals were inquisitive as to what was happening, and when explained that this will be a regular occurrence (perhaps 3 times per year) and the information gained goes into a state wide database where debris patterns and trends will be analysed, all were in favour of our activities.