SANE support for a plastic bag free Torquay campaign
Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment (SANE) is a community-based environment group who have been caring for the coastal Bells Beach Reserve for over twenty years. We are very aware of the numerous threats it faces; not least being the threat of litter, in particular plastics. Indeed, during the early 1990s SANE produced a video called ‘Green Bells’ which tackled amongst other issues, the problem of plastics entering the marine environment. Therefore, it is with great excitement that we note the formation of your new group Plastic Bag Free Torquay. We wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope that your submission for funding is received favourably. We would also very much like to be kept in the loop with any new developments. If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
(on behalf of the SANE executive)
Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment (SANE) is a local, community-based environmental group that has worked on restoration of coastal cliff top flora at Bells Beach for just over twenty years. We are mindful of our reliance and inter-connectedness to other like-minded groups across Torquay and Jan Juc. Needless to say, it is the determined longitudinal efforts by many within this community that have successfully recreated contiguous habitat over large sections of our coastline. Without these groups doing what they do, Torquay and Jan Juc would be a much poorer place to live. Jan Juc Creek has an important role to play as a connecting coast to hinterland wildlife corridor. It is with this in mind that the SANE committee raises our concerns about the water harvesting proposal for Jan Juc Creek.
The discovery by SANE members of hundreds of abalone shells near Point Addis has prompted a call to include abalone under new shellfish protection regulations.
Four heaps of shells were found hidden in bushes on the road leading from the Great Ocean Road. Nearby were four hessian bags believed to have been used to transport the abalone from the beach.
Surfers in the Bells Beach area, particularly at Winki Pop, have consistently complained about illegal abalone collecting. Under existing regulations a person can take 10 abalone a day without a fishing licence.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) fisheries officers are aware of organised groups making repeated visits to beaches in a day, each time taking 10 abalone. But they say offenders have been hard to detect.
Locals to the area have often seen groups of 5 to 10 people with backpacks full of abalone being picked up at the Winki carpark by a rendezvous vehicle which is either a white mini-bus or several cars.
If you are in the Bells or Winki area and are convinced that a poaching group is at work on our reefs, you should call the Torquay police or DNRE or if possible take photo's and contact SANE. The more difficult we make it for poachers the better our environment will be for everyone.
A shellfish protection zone from the highwater mark to a depth of 2 metres exists from Barwon Heads to Point Impossible. SANE are pushing to have that extended to Point Addis. If you have any comments or information - contact us now.