Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 12, 2016 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016 - PAGE 13
SERVICING SOUTH GIPPSLAND AND PHILLIP ISLAND
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SINCE 1997, researchers have ob-
served 359 Australian fur seals entan-
gled in marine debris at Seal Rocks.
But according to Phillip Island Nature
Parks’ researcher Dr Rebecca McIntosh
this is just the tip of the iceberg, in her
paper recently published in Marine Pol-
“Marine debris is predominantly made
up of plastics and includes fishing gear
as well as household items such as
twine, cloth, balloon ribbons and plastic
bags,” Dr McIntosh said.
“Seals become entangled when the de-
bris becomes caught around their body.
It then tightens and cuts into them, caus-
ing injury that typically leads to death.”
The research team visits Seal Rocks
approximately every two months and the
latest modelling shows only a portion of
The real number of entangled seals in
our waters could be as high as 300 every
year, accounting for one per cent of the
total local seal population.
The research being conducted by Phillip
Island Nature Parks (PINP) was recently
recognised internationally when World
Animal Protection invited Dr McIntosh to
present her entanglement research at a
workshop entitled ‘Lose the Loop’ at the
Marine Mammal Society Conference in
San Francisco in December.
The conference was attended by over
2500 delegates, discussing research
and issues of global concern for marine
The workshop provided researchers
with the opportunity to meet with people
from around the world, to share knowl-
edge and ideas to move towards reduc-
ing the impact of this problem.
One of the key discussion points dur-
ing the conference was around how to
encourage people around the world to
adjust their behaviour to reduce our im-
“Cultural change requires several com-
ponents,” said Dr McIntosh.
“Science is critical, but education and
promotion are required to translate that
science into real change.
“I am proud to work for an organisa-
tion such as PINP that is employing a
conservation management model that
promotes these critical components.”
A recent trip to Seal Rocks to moni-
tor the seals included PINP researchers
observing four entangled seals, one of
which they were able to rescue, while an-
other managed to release itself, leaving
behind the netting which had entangled
Researchers collected the netting and
were able to identify it as entanglement
material thanks to a photo taken by a
passenger on a recent seal cruise.
“These types of collaborative efforts
between members of the public and re-
searchers show that science, education
and promotion are leading to increased
awareness - a great starting point to
tackle this global issue,” Dr McIntosh
Research has shown that since 1997, 359 Australian fur seals have been
found entangled in marine debris at Seal Rocks, like this seal captured recently.
This number is only a portion of the real number of unreported entangled seals,
which could be as high as 300 every year. Photo courtesy Trudy Prior.
Seals harmed by
GRACE Bannon, a teacher from Ben-
digo, is riding 2370km around Victoria
and will be in South Gippsland this
She started her journey on Decem-
ber 12 and is riding around the state to
raise awareness for mental illness.
Grace is a PE teacher and runs mara-
thons however, cycling is a challenge for
Grace said her mother had depres-
sion and cycled to help manage it, her
sister was also diagnosed with schizo-
phrenia, so she is riding around Victoria
Grace’s journey started at Albert Park
Lake in Melbourne, along the Great
Ocean Road to Nelson (near the border),
then up to Bordertown (SA) to Nhill and
up to Mildura.
On Saturday, January 13 she is due to
ride from Yarram to Inverloch; then on
January 14 from Inverloch to Poowong,
then January 15 from Poowong to Koo
On her penultimate day on January
16, she will ride from Koo Wee Rup to
Aspendale before finishing at Albert Park.
Grace Bannon is riding around Victoria to raise awareness for mental ill-
ness and is scheduled to be riding from Yarram to Inverloch on January 13.
She is then riding to Poowong and Koo Wee Rup.
Keep an eye out for Grace
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