In a major win for fish and the environment new sightings of endangered Giant Kelp have been reported by recreational fishers in Tasmania following the launch late last year of the Kelp Tracker phone app.
Tasmanian recreational fishers were urged to help scientists trying to research and restore the State’s disappearing Giant Kelp forests by logging sightings of remnant kelp via the new phone app.
CEO of OzFish Unlimited Craig Copeland said that it has been very successful so far with over 100 sightings from 22 separate fishers.
“With over 95% of the Giant Kelp forests gone, finding the kelp that is left may prove the difference in their successful restoration,” he said.
The kelp restoration project is being carried out by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania in collaboration with The Climate Foundation, OzFish Unlimited, Huon Aquaculture and TARfish.
Co-project lead Dr Cayne Layton of IMAS said initial response to the project is encouraging.
“Some of the sightings are entirely new to us, and in areas that we didn’t know had any giant kelp left,” he said.
“The logged sightings include some quite large patches of giant kelp, but also very small patches or even single individuals.
“The mapping of such small patches or individuals has not been possible until now and without the help of these fishers. And crucially, we can now head out and collect spores from these remnant individuals.”
The project is currently testing how warm-water tolerant these remaining giant kelp are which may be crucial for our kelp forest restoration efforts.
Mr Copeland encouraged fishers to