TASPARKS ranger in charge Andrea Turbett collects marine debris off a short span of coastline where gentoo penguins and other species will be breeding.

Macca winter marine debris

Andrea recently squeezed in a visit to the wild west coast prior to the Special Management Area closing. Access to this area is restricted between 1 September and 31 March to minimise disturbance to penguins and giant petrels while they are breeding. Elephant seals also breed there.

Andrea collected this rubbish along a very short section of coast between Double Point and the hut at Davis Point (about 1.5km). It is disturbing that this much plastic can be found on such a small section of our tiny island, surrounded by the vast ocean — and how much debris is floating out there in the sea!

Pen lids, a deodorant can, part of a cigarette lighter, a broken thong, chunks of styrofoam, a noodles wrapper and fishing buoy pieces were collected, along with the usual pile of bottles, lids and plastic fragments.

The most interesting find was a tracking device on the beach at Davis Point. Tracking devices collect and transmit data about where animals forage and other information about their habitat that affects their population growth rates and persistence. We’re not sure what kind of animal it was deployed on but we hope to find out soon, as well as where it was deployed and more about the secrets it has stored!