Updates from the Field: Cocos Keeling Islands 'Trash Bash' 2021
Monday, 22 Nov, 2021
For the second year in a row, Sea Shepherd is at the Coco Keeling Islands conducting an intensive remote clean-up mission. The goal of the clean-up project is simple - remove as much debris as possible to make the beaches and the ocean safer for marine life, whilst supporting the remote island communities who are faced with ocean plastics washing onto their shores.
The Cocos Keeling Islands are Australia’s most remote island territory located 2,750 kilometres north-west of Perth, Western Australia in the Indian Ocean. The group of coral islands are a place of immense beauty, with pristine reefs and a wide variety of marine life.
Sea Shepherd's marine debris crew who are part of the Cocos “Trash Bash” 2021 team will be tackling hotspot beaches on several of the islands. Our inaugural Cocos 2020 campaign saw over 11 tonnes of debris removed, so we know the work ahead will be mighty for the crew.
Scroll down to read updates from the field from our National Marine Debris Campaigner, Marina Hansen as part of out Cocos “Trash Bash” 2021 remote campaign.
Update One - South Island
Sea Shepherd’s Cocos Trash Bash 2021 remote clean-up campaign is underway with the crew hitting the ground running at South Island, in the Cocos Keeling Islands, offshore Australia.
In just over 72 hours, the 8 crew removed 188 collection bags weighing 1,279 kgs and 1,760 kgs of discarded fishing ropes and nets. Together their efforts have resulted in over 3 tonnes of harmful debris no longer on the beaches of this stunning tropical island.
To maximise their time cleaning, the crew spent 3 nights camping on the deserted island, getting to the clean-up areas by walking the 1.8kms or on the higher tides by outrigger canoe and a support dinghy.
Campaign Leader Liza Dicks said cleaning beaches on a remote island certainly comes with its challenges.
"The teamwork displayed by the crew has been exceptional, often having to think on their feet and adapt together to the changing sea conditions and weather.” “We have seen many, many turtles swimming in the lagoon, so we know the work Sea Shepherd is carrying out will most definitely have a positive impact to local marine life”- Campaign Leader, Liza Dicks.
Take a look at our photos from South Island below ⬇️
Update Two - Turtles at the Cocos Keeling Islands
Whilst cleaning beaches during our remote clean-up mission at the Cocos Keeling Islands, Sea Shepherd’s crew have seen numerous Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) including this amazing turtle photographed swimming off South Island.
Sea turtles are key stone species, important for a thriving ecosystem. They love grazing on seagrass, keeping seagrass beds healthy, not just for themselves but other species too including ourselves! Sea grass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests so by protecting turtles by removing debris from beaches and the ocean, we’re protecting the planet!
Check back for new updates from our 2021 Cocos Keeling Islands 'Trash Bash' or learn more about our Sea Shepherd Australia Marine Debris Campaign.