East Gippsland Training Day
On June 25th, the Fishcare EG volunteers boarded the Stormbird at the Lakes Entrance Post Office Jetty for a boat trip to Metung and back.
This day is a training day for the volunteers with 2 guest speakers to talk about the different subjects relating to the important ecosystems of the Gippsland Lakes.
The conditions were perfect, which allowed the Stormbird to enter the main entrance up to the end, where everyone got up close and personal with the haul out of Australian Fur seals hanging out on the rocks, who have just returned from their seasonal breeding grounds.
After leaving the entrance and continuing back up into Reeves Channel, a pod of Burrunan Dolphins appeared with several calves and joined the boat much to the delight of everyone.
Rebecca Jol commenced with the first presentation on the Northern Pacific Seastar and shared her extensive knowledge with the Fishcare volunteers as Rebecca did her Masters at University on this highly invasive pest seastar when it first appeared in Port Phillip Bay and the devastation the starfish initially caused. The potential for this seastar to take hold in the Gippsland Lakes is highly likely, due to the ideal water conditions and food source.
Including this NPS seastar in all Fishcare EG workshops will continue, as education and identification is a key factor into raising awareness in keeping this highly invasive pest from getting a stronghold in our beautiful Gippsland Lakes system.
Our second speaker, Caitlin Jackson is the new project manager for the Lakes Champion Project in the Gippsland Lakes. This project provides opportunities for the local communities around the Gippsland Lakes to engage in the sightings and recordings of the Burrunan dolphins in and around the Lake systems and any associated impacts on their behaviour at certain times of the year. Lots of questions were asked and both speaker presentations were well received by the Fishcare volunteers.
A great lunch and conversation followed at the Metung Hotel and back home again. Training days are important in raising knowledge of volunteers especially to subjects in their own backyard.