The Causeway Lake fishing tackle reduction project is located on Darumbal Country at Causeway Lake situated between Mulambin Beach and Kinka Beach.
Causeway Lake is a popular family friendly area used for water-based recreation activities including fishing. The fishing tackle reduction campaign stemmed from two different areas of community.
The first was when a report was made by a five-year-old community member, Owen Harris, in late 2020 when he and his family discovered an injured turtle at Causeway Lake. The turtle later named Barney, had become entangled in fishing line around its flipper. Barney was transported to the Quoin Island Turtle hospital. Damage to Barneys flipper was so severe that it needed to be amputated. Luckily Barney was later deemed healthy enough to be released back into Keppel Bay.
The second driving force behind the project came from a time that we partnered with a local wildlife rescue group and the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland who shared information about increasing numbers of local birdlife that were becoming entangled or ingesting fishing tackle related marine debris coming into their care. Causeway Lake is adjacent to the shorebird roosting site, a site regularly surveyed by Birdlife Capricornia to monitor the internationally significant shorebirds that migrate to the area.
Hearing the concerns from both areas of the public an investigation was made about just how much marine debris was at risk of being lost to the sea from the Causeway Lake fishing hotspots and surrounds.
From here Capricornia Catchments partnered with Tangaroa Blue Foundation through their ReefClean program, and Livingstone Shire Council to engage local artists Martin Schlick from Mash Designs and emerging artist Rebecca Johnston with help from BirdLife Capricornia to help create an educational mural at the Causeway Lake. The artwork highlights the important, rare, and sensitive wildlife that relies on the area and the impact litter and in particular fishing tackle litter is having on wildlife.
In conjunction with the artwork, several clean-ups in the area were undertaken to collect data and monitor the effectiveness of the mural on user’s litter behaviour. Clean-ups prior to commissioning of the artwork were used to gather baseline data, how the amount and types of litter present. Post-mural clean-ups were used to identify if the artwork has had an impact on user’s behaviour.
Our results show overall, there has been a major reduction litter/ marine debris volume. Fishing tackle specific litter has been reduced by 80%. From CU1 to CU6 fishing line has decreased overall by 95%, however fluctuations are present between clean ups. It can be expected that while there has been an obvious reduction in fishing specific litter, 95% may not be an accurate finial representation. Fishing specific items of most concern; hooks and bait bags also show fluctuations with a general decreasing trend.
General litter also showed a major decrease of 49% overall. Plastic consumer items were the most frequent items found. Cigarette butts account for 94% of plastic consumer items found at the Causeway Lake recreational area.
Capricornia Catchments has received anecdotal feedback from members of the community, saying that they have noticed a positive difference in the cleanliness of the causeway lake recreational area. This project has showed successful results in the reduction of fishing tackle litter at the Causeway Lake recreational area through the combination of artwork, collaboration and community involvement.
We believe ongoing work is still needed in the area. There are ample bins at the Causeway Lake, yet the issue of litter still remains. Watch this space for ongoing work at the Causeway Lake! If you’d like to get involved send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This project would not have been made possible without the ongoing support from Livingstone Shire Council, the Regional Artist Development Fund, Tangaroa Blue Foundation and ReefClean. ReefClean is funded by the Australian Governments Reef Trust, and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation.