OzFish Unlimited is putting the call out for volunteers to raise their hand for the sixth annual Seeds for Snapper in Western Australia, the largest restoration project of its kind in Australia which is delivering big gains in seagrass restoration.
Over the past five years volunteers have worked tirelessly to disperse millions of seagrass seeds resulting in hectares of seagrass meadows restored.
This year’s project is set to begin in November and OzFish is on the lookout for more than 500 community volunteers to register to make it their largest on record to help collect one million seeds.
Seagrass meadows play a huge role in supporting fish such as pink snapper, an iconic native species that resonates with anglers throughout Western Australia but up to 60% of the meadows in Cockburn Sound have disappeared.
Reflecting on the resounding success of last year’s project, Steve Pursell, OzFish’s Western Australia Program Manager said, "Last year we witnessed more than 400 people volunteer in a big way and this season, we're poised for an even greater turnout - we’ve got an important harvest ahead."
Once volunteers register, they will attend induction events in October to learn all they need to know.
Volunteers can register now via the OzFish website: https://ozfish.org.au/projects/seeds-for-snapper/
The seagrass restoration project, which began in 2018, is made possible because of OzFish’s commitment to bring people and science together through a long-standing partnership with the University of Western Australia.
Cockburn Sound is recognised as a pivotal habitat and feeding ground for numerous recreational fishing favourites. These seagrass meadows have endured significant degradation due to environmental shifts and prolonged ecological challenges.
This is where OzFish’s dedicated volunteers come into play. From anglers and boaters to scuba and freedivers to the onshore team that process fruits and prepares seed for dispersal, they all play a part in the community driven restoration effort to bring the seagrass meadows back to life.
The project will have eight 2000-litre tanks set up at Cockburn Power Boats Club where the fruit will be processed.
“If we just leave it to nature most of that fruit will just detach and float away,” Steve added. “About 90% end up in deep water or on the beach where they can’t grow so this is where our collection team steps in.
“We put the fruit in the tanks and pump water through to circulate it, agitate it a little bit and regulate the temperature and then in about two or three days, the little fruits will pop open and because they’re very dense, the seeds will sink to the bottom of the tank.
“Once they’re ready we go out to the restoration sites, that have been determined by the researchers, and we chuck the fresh seeds over the side of the boat - like feeding the chooks, it’s pretty simple really.”
The Seeds for Snapper volunteers collected one million fruits last year, restoring 2.3 hectares of seagrass meadows in Cockburn Sound.
Community members and interested volunteers are encouraged to register now as spaces are limited. https://ozfish.org.au/projects/seeds-for-snapper/
Dropbox of photos and footage available for use (please credit OzFish Unlimited): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xomyf3wczc137f5/AABSdUoLWOO4NSSE6tx_k-Jva?dl=0
If you would like to know more about the project or get involved become a member of OzFish online at www.ozfish.org.au or contact 1800 431 308.
OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, clean-ups, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.
OzFish Communications Manager Paul Suttor
0421 491 229 | email@example.com