Posted on 25/11/2020 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Seals Secure Marine & Coastal Award
Phillip Island Nature Parks is proud to have been awarded winner in the Distinction in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation category of the Victorian Marine and Coastal Awards in an online ceremony held on Friday 20 November.
The application titled ‘Seals as Ecosystem Sentinels’ described the important project that aimed to understand changes in the marine ecosystem that impact on Australian Fur Seals.
“As marine predators at the top of the food chain, seals illustrate environmental changes, and are easily sampled by researchers because they come ashore in high numbers and have a synchronised annual breeding season,” said Dr Rebecca McIntosh, Phillip Island Nature Parks Marine Scientist who led the award winning project team.
Key highlights of the project included the use of drones to monitor the seal colony, and partnering with community and industry to collect data on population numbers through programs such as the online ‘SealSpotter’ challenge, and putting bins on boats to reduce the number of seals entangled in marine debris.
The innovative approaches used in the project represent how innovation and collaboration can reduce human impact on the seal colony and enable managers to quickly detect and respond to changes.