Fishcare Victoria has been successful in 2 small grant applications to deliver litter awareness programs through the Port Phillip Bay Fund and through Coastcare. These exciting projects will add to the success of the current Fishcare program which educates young Victorians about responsible recreational fishing and stewardship of our aquatic resources. These litter projects will highlight the impacts of litter on our environments and the importance of keeping our marine environments litter free.
The “Litter Warriors – protecting our bay” project will provide $9970 to deliver incursion and excursion activities directly related to marine litter and their impacts within Port Phillip Bay. Educational resources specific to the impacts of litter in the bay will be developed including props, videos, resource sheets and online learning resources. The resources will be aligned with the Victorian Curriculum and delivered as a part of the Fishcare Program.
The “What’s under the water” project will provide $14,930 over 2 years to develop an underwater education activity that replicates a marine environment and will highlights how litter impacts aquatic animals and habitats. The activity will be delivered in swimming pools to 20 schools across the state and will include a suite of Victorian fish species, sea weed and strategically placed rubbish, (in particular soft plastics, straws, fishing line etc.) that clearly demonstrate their impacts on marine environments. Each participant then gets briefed on the activity and issued with a snorkel, mask and an underwater slate used to record the species and litter sighted. This program will be complimented by pre-activity theory session and a post activity rubbish collection activity.
By educating participants through fun, interactive and practical learning experiences, the more likely they are to understand and appreciate the impacts of litter on the marine environment and question their own behaviours in regards to their waste management with the aim of encouraging sustainable choices. The threat of soft plastics and consumer waste has never been more real, especially in regards to the marine environment. By changing mindsets and behaviours we will be creating lasting protection through more informed and sustainable living choices and encouraging a sense of stewardship of our marine environments and fisheries.