In Australia’s far remote north, the Gulf of Carpentaria pristine ecosystem is one of the last remaining safe havens for endangered marine species, including six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, dugongs and sawfish. It is a sparsely populated region, yet receives significant marine debris, mostly from thousands of derelict fishing nets (ghost nets) that continue to fish for many years, before washing up on shore. These nets are responsible for the accidental capture of marine life, which often dies once trapped. Marine turtles make up 80% of the marine life found entangled in these nets and many of these are dead or dying.
TierraMar is providing ongoing technical support and strategic advice to a number of groups, including GhostNets Australia, World Animal Protection, the Australia Government and the Arafura Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Group to develop a holistic regional response, strategy and action plan for implementation of solutions to address ghost net issues in northern Australia. This work includes engaging directly with stakeholders (fishers, fisheries officers, legislators) in Indonesia, providing technical input into the development of the Arafura Ecoregion Fisheries Management Plan and utilising the monitoring capabilities and potential of the Indigenous rangers in Australia.
TierraMar is currently working with our partners to develop and implement an ASEAN endorsed regional strategy to support sustainable fisheries, improved turtle conservation and address ghost net issues in the Arafura Sea.