27 September 2023

PS members sail north for reef study

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Public Servants set sail last week to survey the northernmost section of the Torres Strait to provide critical insight into the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

Senior Natural Resource Management Officer at the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), Madeina David said the five-day voyage to Mer (Murray Island) by the Women Warriors of the Torres Strait was led by TSRA and James Cook University, marking the first time that the Great Reef Census had ventured beyond Cape York.

Ms David, who is also a Marine Biologist, said the trip served as ethical science, with researchers and Traditional Owners working together to monitor the Great Barrier Reef, collect data and share findings with island communities to support local decision making.

“Our voyage sets a new course for science to value, respect and incorporate the traditional ecological knowledge of custodians who have cared for land and sea for centuries,” Ms David said.

“We will connect ancient knowledge and modern science to assess the condition of the northern Great Barrier Reef, including water temperatures, coral conditions and even explore the potential for a future turtle sanctuary.”

Sea Team Manager at TSRA, Moni Carlisle said the Torres Strait, the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, was known as the seagrass capital of the world and was home to globally important marine migratory species, including dugong and sea turtles.

Ms Carlisle said the area was proving to be vital to the future of the Great Barrier Reef for both corals and sanctuary for species recovery.

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