Our sea country is vulnerable to pollution, including general rubbish, sewage from the treatment plant at Maningrida, oil and fuel spills in the sea, and marine debris. Ghost nets (discarded fishing nets that drift along the coastline, catching and killing fish and other marine species) are an especially serious threat. Abandoned nets and long-lines entangle turtles, marine mammals and larger fish. Prevailing sea currents, our proximity to Indonesia, and the presence of Australian and foreign fishing fleets in our northern waters means that a high number of ghost nets threaten the Arnhem Land coast.
We patrol our sea country every month to control marine debris, which includes removing ghost nets. We regularly advise and support the shire council and power and water services in the management of Maningrida-based coastal pollution threats and issues. We are educating young people about the impacts of coastal pollution, and working with stakeholders and landowners in Maningrida towards culturally suitable solutions to rubbish.
Our long-term goal is that the Djelk IPA coastal zone has low levels of pollution from sewerage, rubbish and marine debris.