Today we celebrate International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem 2017. No one knows the value of mangroves like the Indigenous Australians who have for centuries fished and crabbed in the abundant shallows in our estuaries of South East Queensland. The extent of the midden heaps bears testament to this. So it makes sense for them to be intimately involved in the conservation of mangroves, as they are on the Sunshine Coast.
For almost a decade Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation has been developing skills in mangrove propagation and rehabilitation, working with cane farmers, scientists, fishers and Navy Cadets to prevent stream bank erosion whilst at the same time promoting fish habitat in their Sea Country.
Over the years this work has been supported by many partners including Sunshine Coast Council, Mangrovewatch, University of the Sunshine Coast and Healthy Land and Water through National Landcare Program.
And now they are launching the first Sunshine Coast chapter of OzFish Unlimited, a new network of fishers for fish habitat, focusing first on the mangroves, saltmarsh and oysters near Bli Bli on the Maroochy River.
Kabi Kabi man Kerry Jones pictured above beside an old grey mangrove near Bli Bli said, “This old fella here has watched quite a few generations of us fishing and crabbing around him, and we want to make sure that we look after this whole ecosystem.”
“Right now we’re very concerned as all the orange mangroves here are sick,” Kerry said.
“There must be some underlying stress that is causing a fungal disease and we’re working with Mangrovewatch and Healthy Land and Water to work out what’s going on.”
Today is a reminder to all of us to look after one of our most precious natural habitats in South East Queensland. We thank everyone for their efforts in conserving the mangrove ecosystems and promoting the cultural significance of these areas.