Do You Love Fish or Fishing

How healthy is your fish habitat. Do you love fish or fishing? Are you interested in the marine environment? Want to have some muddy fun and contribute to real science? Then this is your opportunity to become a citizen scientist and contribute to monitoring mangroves.

Intensive mangrove monitoring is about to get underway around Gladstone Harbour to assess the health of the fish habitat as part of the Port Curtis Port Alma Coastal Habitat Archive and Monitoring Program (CHAMP), launched in March this year.

Scientists from James Cook University’s TropWATER Centre, together with Traditional Owner rangers from Gidarjil Development Corporation, will begin 10 days of shoreline environmental monitoring on Wednesday (26th August), and they need your help.

The JCU team is looking for budding citizen scientists to help out with mangrove field surveys from Monday the 31st August to Thursday 3rd September.

To get involved, or to find out more about the project, contact Richard or Arthur at Gidarjil Development Corporation on 4972 1881 or
The monitoring work forms part of Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC) Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Program – a compliance requirement under GPC’s approval for the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project.

The CHAMP project is incorporating Sea Country ranger knowledge, understanding and passion for the importance and beauty of the valuable coastal zone, in collaboration with expert JCU mangrove scientists.

The plan is to report back to the wider community with annual reports and locally relevant observations. Project Leader, Dr Duke said “The offer is there for those in the community to get involved in this six year program, helping protect critical natural coastal resources of the Gladstone region. If you have got the time, come join us!“

“This is a chance for interested locals to get involved, to learn about the health of their tidal wetlands, and to help gather valuable scientific data about one of our most undervalued natural ecosystems, mangroves,” said Dr Duke.

The Gladstone region has abundant mangrove and tidal saltmarsh areas, but are they healthy?

“More than 75% of the fish, prawns and crabs from around Gladstone depend on the mangroves. If the mangroves aren’t healthy, then neither are the fish stocks and that will have an impact on the local economy,” added Jock Mackenzie, another JCU scientist.

“Scientists need local community help and support to properly protect and manage our natural places,” said Dr Duke, a world-renowned mangrove scientist.

The CHAMP project, along with the Gidarjil Rangers and community volunteers, is leading the way, collecting valuable information using latest technology innovations for monitoring shorelines surrounding the Port area. They will film, record and measure the condition of mangroves in the Gladstone region.

To properly record these activities, the JCU team will also be making a video documentary that can be used to promote the project with its world’s best practice approach to shoreline environmental monitoring.

The project work involves helicopter shoreline survey flights, as well as boat-based filming, and field plot sampling for validation of vegetation mapping and measuring ecosystem health.

For more information on mangroves and MangroveWatch programs, visit www.mangrovewatch.org.au