A new community-based collaboration aims to address the loss of the seagrass meadows in Cockburn Sound which also act as a nursery for baby pink snapper, calamari, whiting and blue swimmer crabs.
Professor Gary Kendrick, from the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Western Australia, is co-ordinating a project with fishing conservation charity OzFish and leading scientists to restore the meadows and is calling on the community for help.
Professor Kendrick said “Seeds for Snapper” Seagrass Restoration aimed to create a resilient and productive seagrass ecosystem in Cockburn Sound and Owen Anchorage and enhance pink snapper fishing into the future.
“What often washes up on the beach to rot in the sun this time of the year is seagrass fruit, which contains the all-important seed,” Professor Kendrick said.
“By collecting these fruits and processing them for the seed, we can use these otherwise lost seeds to restore seagrasses in shallow areas of Cockburn Sound and Owen Anchorage.
“The team and volunteers then disperse these rescued seeds by hand from boats into areas with preferred growing conditions which includes healthy sediment type and associated nearness to reef structures.”
The project aims to collect, process and disperse one million seagrass seeds. To help achieve this OzFish’s dive team co-ordinator Tania Douthwaite is recruiting a mixture of skilled and beginner dive volunteers, including those with advanced scuba skills to help support recreational divers.
This November, volunteers will also needed to collect fruit, clean seed and provide time at Woodman’s Point boat ramp to offer boat owners scoop nets and buckets to collect the floating fruit often seen by fishers setting and checking rock lobster pots.
This project is supported by Recfishwest and was made possible by the WA Government’s Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, retailer Boating Camping Fishing (BCF) and Kwinana Industry Council.
For more information on the project go to ozfish.org.au or call 1800 431 308.