Shopping bags threaten Moreton Bay turtles

Published Monday, 08 June, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles

The government has warned Brisbane residents their plastic bags, bottles and other waste are putting turtles in Moreton Bay at risk.

 Speaking on World Oceans Day (8 June) Dr Steven Miles, the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef said plastic rubbish could leave turtles injured and facing an agonising death.

 “Moreton Bay has long been a fertile environment for beautiful turtles,” Dr Miles said during a trip to inspect the Harry Atkinson Artificial Reef.

 “But we are putting them at risk by plastic debris. The turtles confuse the plastic for food and eat it.

 “The plastic causes blockages in their digestive system, leaving them unable to feed and facing a slow and painful death.

 “A recent survey by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection found forty per cent of small turtles passing through the Bay had eaten plastics.

 “Seventy per cent of the endangered small loggerheads had also ingested plastic debris.

 Plastic debris can leave turtles washed up dead or dying on Queensland’s beaches.

 There were 940 turtle strandings in Queensland last year, nearly half of them in Moreton Bay.

 “The terrible toll on marine life is one of the reasons the Queensland Government is looking at a possible restrictions on single use plastic bags,” Dr Miles said.

 “We have established an Advisory Group to assist in preparing for public consultation later this year on a container deposit scheme and plastic bag use.”

Meanwhile boaties are being told to go-slow to reduce the risk of striking marine wildlife.

 “More than half of the marine life killed by boats and other vessels in Queensland is in Moreton Bay,” Dr Miles said.

 “On average 32 green turtles, 3 loggerhead turtles and one dugong are reported killed each year by vessels in Moreton Bay.”

 To report sick, injured or dead marine wildlife call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

 Boaties Quick Guides can be obtained from local boating and fishing outlets, and Marine Park Visitor Guides and maps highlighting the ‘go slow’ areas are available at or by phoning 13 QGOV (13 74 68). Signs at boat ramps also show where the ‘go slow’ areas are.


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