In 2009 the Great Sandy region was awarded Biosphere Reserve status by UNESCO, the global organisation that also awards World Heritage Listings. The decision gives worldwide recognition to the Fraser Coast region and puts it in the same class as the Galapagos Islands, the Central Amazon, the Everglades and Uluru.
Important aspects of the Biosphere include: Fringing coral reefs and more marine diversity than the entire Great Barrier Reef; Almost half of all Australia’s bird species; Major breeding site for endangered marine turtles; Declared Dugong sanctuary; RAMSAR wetlands – internationally declared feeding ground for migratory birds and importantly it is a major transitory point for humpback whales on their annual southern migration. There are several opportunities for interested people to get involved in relevant marine volunteering, research and training in the Fraser Coast region such as:
Oceania Project Marine Volunteer
Offers internship opportunities such as Whale Identification trips from Hervey Bay. Stepping aboard the expedition vessel ‘Sounds Unique’ as a participant in the Marine Internship Program, you realise you have become part of a humpback whale research team dedicated to furthering our understanding of these incredible creatures.
Work begins the moment you step aboard Sunday morning. Firstly, you will get to meet the other members of the marine research team. Following the safety and operational briefings, you will participate in planning the week’s rosters and assist the crew in getting ready for departure from Urangan Boat Harbour.
Upon leaving the harbour, the most immediate sensation you will encounter is the constant movement of the Expedition vessel. However, like the whales, you will deftly adapt to the rhythms and movements of the ocean. Within two hours of leaving Harbour at 0800 Sunday morning, we will be within the study area looking out for our first pod of humpbacks.
See website for more details: – Oceania Project – www.oceania.org.au
Our marine volunteers are people that are committed to helping Reef Check Australia save the reefs and oceans. Survey teams are made up of avid divers, students, retirees, working professionals, and anyone that meets the diving requirements and wants to participate! We have a lot of fun on our surveys and we want you to join us!
We currently have more than 60 priority monitoring locations along the Queensland coast Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island and the Fraser Coast. We are continuing to expand our projects in this region to provide a strong connection between tropical reefs and subtropical reef transition zones.
Launching a new Reef Check program on the Fraser Coast
In August 2012, our teams braved the chilly winter waters off the Fraser Coast to establish the first long-term monitoring locations in the area, helping to close the gap between our Great Barrier Reef sites and South East Queensland sites. The team established 5 new sites, including 3 sites inshore Hervey Bay and two off the Woongara Coast near Bundaberg.
Reef Check – www.reefcheckaustralia.org
Other Marine Volunteer Opportunities
ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) is the most experienced and successful whale rescue organisation in Australia. Orca offers training in Marine Mammal Rescue. See website for more detail.
See website: www.orrca.org.au/get-rescue-trained
Scanning Ocean Sectors
Scanning Ocean Sectors has established itself as a premium training company for Marine Mammal Observer /Marine Fauna Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring Operator training internationally.
Training courses are about ensuring the acquisition of knowledge, attaining new skills and achieving of competencies. This is accomplished with the experience of our staff who have a wide range of knowledge and practical skills on an international level.
See website: www.scanningoceansectors.com