Protecting Moreton Bay

Thursday, 06 Jun, 2024

On Brisbane’s doorstep lies Moreton Bay Marine Park, a haven of offshore reefs, islands, seagrass meadows, wetlands and sandy shores that are home to a rich diversity of marine life.


A diverse array of species shelter in this sanctuary - humpback whales, turtles, wobbegong sharks, stingrays, manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, and dugongs, to name just a few.

On Saturday 25th May, our crew set sail with the Blue Peter team for Mud Island, despite the wet and dreary weather. As we navigated out into Moreton Bay, the rain thankfully ceased, allowing the crew to commence preparations for the two-day clean-up operation.

Upon arriving at Mud Island, our crew divided into three groups - each targeting a different section of the island. One team set off on foot, while the other two utilized the assistance of the Grey Nurse, our Shark Defence Campaign’s small boat, and one of Blue Peter's small boats. With the Shark Defence team joining us aboard the Grey Nurse, access to the island opened to us. 

Sea Shepherd crew load onto Shark Defence Campaign small boat the Grey Nurse. Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.

Throughout the day, our crew worked tirelessly, removing 700 kilograms of debris from Mud Island. This impressive feat was achieved by 12 Sea Shepherd and 2 Blue Peter volunteers. After a full day of cleaning, we made our way to St Helena Island to set up camp for the night.

When we arrived at St Helena Island, we were greeted by our friends from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), who had already organized our campsite and provided everything we needed for our stay. QPWS collaborates closely with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) rangers to protect Moreton Bay Marine Park. The Quandamooka people have been custodians of their traditional lands and sea country for over 25,000 years. 

Significant amounts of debris collected from the mangroves. Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.
Over 700 kilograms of debris was removed from Mud Island. Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.

Early Sunday morning, we set out to clean St Helena Island. Our team split into two groups, each heading in opposite directions around the island. Both groups returned with significant amounts of debris collected from the surrounding mangroves, which act as natural filters, trapping single-use items carried in by the tides.

One of the larger vessels from Blue Peter served as our workhorse, storing and transporting all collected debris. Upon returning to shore, we unloaded the boats and weighed the collected items, sorting and counting 20% of the debris.

The crew wades through the shallow waters to load debris onto the Grey Nurse. Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.
The crew weighs the collected items, sorting and counting 20% of the debris. Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.

By the end of our two-day clean-up, we had removed a total of 820 kilograms of debris. Special thanks to QPWS for their ongoing support and for granting us access to these incredible islands.

This clean-up effort was a testament to the dedication and hard work of our volunteers and partners. Together, we made a significant impact on preserving the natural beauty and health of Moreton Bay Marine Park. 

Photo: Blake Turner/Sea Shepherd.

Reporting by Grahame Lloyd – Remote Marine Debris Campaigner for Sea Shepherd Australia. 

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