Around the Reef - Reef Check Australia - August 2021 Update

September 06, 2021

Dear Supporters

We are really pleased that we have been out on the water doing reef health surveys during the last month, even if the water is chilly.  Meanwhile our ambassadors have been out and about spreading the word on all things marine and encouraging people to go plastic free, not just for July, but for ever! Read on to see what we have been up to.

This months email includes:

  • Action of the Month: Time for a winter (spring) clean!
  • News from the Field
  • Brain Food
  • Current Coral Affairs
  • Get With the Program

Time for a winter (spring) clean!

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Winter has come at us hard this year (doesn't it always feel like its getting colder and colder each time!) and whilst Reef Check Australia's main purpose is protecting our marine environments, and we will continue to do what it takes to do exactly that, it must be noted that many of us do not like cold weather.

Finishing off some long term reef health monitoring in Moreton Bay recently, it was down to 15 degrees Celsius! During these cold months we certainly feel grateful for the fact that we have a roof over our head and a warm comfortable bed to sleep in. How about you?

It's an alarming fact that around 116,000 Australians don't have this luxury and the pandemic has only made things worse. Whilst we may not all have the ability to donate money, many of us might find that if we took a look in our cupboards, we would have excess clothes or blankets that we don't need, and that would certainly benefit others without this luxury. It may not yet be spring, but why not have any early winter/spring clean and donate your clean excess clothes and blankets to a charity.

There are many charities such as Sheltered by Grace, St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army doing amazing work with those less fortunate. Some places will donate goods directly to the homeless, others use store fronts to sell the second hand goods and raise much needed funds to provide support. Don't have anything to donate but in the market for some new clothes or homewares? Check out your local charity stores. You can get some amazingly good clothes and homewares at a bargain price and help raise funds this way.

Plus you are recycling and reusing which is also amazing for our planet. Know of any other charities in need? Let us know and share the love!


News from the field

Stories and updates from our teams out & about. Check out some of these regional stories on our website!

South East Queensland

Moreton Bay Surveys

With sunshine and low winds a team of surveyors headed out over 2 days to complete our winter surveys in Moreton Bay. Conditions were lovely with good visibility although the water was rather chilly. We were pleased to see the amount of Sargassum algae had decreased, as had the levels of silt. Our surveyors are constantly amazed by the incredible amount of lovely hard and soft corals there are in these environments, providing important habitat for juvenile fish and estuarine species. Thanks to Port of Brisbane and Go Dive for making these surveys possible and a big thanks to our volunteers who entered all of the data.

Thanks to Port of Brisbane for supporting these surveys.

Peaks to Points Festival

Our team had a great day at Peaks to Point Family Day at Oxley Creek Common on Sunday . Braving the wind, our ambassadors enjoyed talking all things Reef Check, encouraging people to save our reefs and oceans. There was no shortage of people drawing their favourite sea critter either, even a Saw Shark!

Thank you to Port of Brisbane for supporting our Reef Ambassadors and community outreach in the region.

Cook Island and Kirra Reef

A very excited team headed south to the Tweed River and hooked up with Kirra Dive to make a fast trip out to Kirra Reef and Cook Island. Surface conditions at Kirra Reef were amazing and only a slight ripple greeted us at Cook Island. Kirra Reef is a highly variable environment, with algae beds giving way to clean rocky substrate covered in soft corals and anemones. Cook Island was teaming with fish and lots of lovely corals. The area is known for it's turtles and we were lucky enough to be distracted by a turtle during our survey.

Thank you to City of Gold Coast for supporting these surveys.

Seaside Scavenge

Reef Check Australia happily supported this event again this year. Over 26kgs of rubbish was removed from Caloundra beaches which could be swapped for donated pre-loved goods. An all-round win for the environment, rubbish removed and goods given a new home instead of disposal. Congratulations to the team from Visionary Ocean Warriors for another successful event. 

Great Barrier Reef

The GBR team had an extremely busy May and June completing 9 beach and underwater cleanups as part of The ReefClean project before the end of the 2020/2021 financial year. The wind was not on our side and some trips were scheduled multiple times but we got there in the end! Jenni and Nathan wanted to say a big THANKYOU to the 39 legendary Reef Check Australia volunteers over 5 separate trips spanning 700km between Port Douglas and the Whitsundays. YOU collected 32.8kg of marine debris in addition to RCA surveys. A huge achievement and amazing outcome for our reefs and oceans! The next round of these trips will be coming up in the next few months again.

The ReefClean project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and a number of partner organisations including Reef Check Australia.


Brain Food

Reviews and details on books, documentaries, and podcasts that we have come across, & wanted to share.



A Fortunate Life - A.B. Facey

Not ocean related: "You Aussies probably all already know it but I remember reading it when I first moved to Australia and even though I can't remember any details, I remember thinking this was a nice, beautiful read" Hannaleena Vaisenen.

Resilience Project by Hugh Van Cuylenburg

After volunteering in Northern India, Hugh came to realise that the children there were remarkably positive despite the hardships they endured. He recognised that they possessed gratitude, empathy and mindfulness and shares this revelation and how we can all live a happier life.

Sharks - A history of fear in Australia by Callum Denness

This book is an interesting read on the history of fear of sharks in Australia. The author has researched shark encounters and interviewed the people involved. He also explores the role sharks play in indigenous history.


Current Coral Affairs

Check out some of the latest news and research about our ocean and waste reduction innovations:


We have all heard about the problem of "ghost nets" - discarded fishing nets that trap marine life. A charity in the UK has been recognised for their work in removing this hazard.

Ghost Fishing UK wins Plastic Free Award

How cute is this?

A baby Tiger shark has been spotted in the Cocos Islands - read more here. 

The problem with Oodies: hooded blankets are cosy but they are not great for oceans or our health
The thing that makes hooded blankets comfy and unnaturally soft is also what makes them bad for the environment and our health.
Read in The Conversation


Get with the Program

Here's what we've got coming up in the next few weeks, keep checking the website for more updates. 


If you missed our recent Coast to Coral online event, remember you can always catch-up by taking a look at our YouTube Channel here  



Thanks for reading! If you want to help our work to empower more people to protect Australian reefs, please consider making a monthly tax-deductible donation. 


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