Not all heroes wear capes

11 October 2021

Seagrasses are amongst the most important and the most threatened ecosystems in the world.

This is evident in Central Queensland' where the Gladstone and Curtis Coast regions have seen a 50 per cent reduction in seagrass meadows over the past 20 years.

Seagrass is the main source of food for dugongs and green turtles' and they provide habitats for many smaller marine animals' including mangrove jack' barramundi and prawns. Additionally' they absorb nutrients from freshwater run-off and stabilise sediment to help keep waterways clear.

Without intervention today' we could lose these valuable marine heroes.

Thankfully a partnership between CQUniversity and the Fitzroy Basin Association' through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program' is aiming to assist in the restoration of the region's depleting seagrass population.

Most recently' with the help of almost 70 community recreational fishers and their families' the project saw more than 5000 seagrass flowers collected off the banks off Curtis Island.

The collection events took place over two days (18 September and 3 October) and taught volunteers how to identify different seagrass species and understand their importance to Australian ecosystems.

CQUniversity Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) Director Associate Professor Emma Jackson said these collections are not only great for the ecosystem but also great for the fishers.

"Once the fishers start collecting the seagrass flowers' they can see the amazing creatures that use the meadows and gain a better appreciation for how valuable they are to fish'" A/Prof Jackson said.

"Each seagrass flower can produce around 10 to 15 seeds and in the right conditions' one seedling can grow to cover up to one hectare of the seafloor."

Fitzroy Basin Association's Science Officer Mac Hansler said the waterways in Australia are some of the best and the most unique in the world.

"It's critical that we keep our waterways healthy so we can continue to enjoy our world-class fishing into the future'" Mr Hansler said.

"Seagrass is essential for healthy marine life and healthy oceans' but they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

"The seagrass collections will benefit Australia's ecosystems and the broader community' especially our recreational fishers."

Once the seedlings have been harvested from the flowers' they will be spread over the region to keep our marine life thriving.

Seagrass collections will be held until 2022. For more information or to get involved' contact or