ORRCA’s 27th Annual General Meeting was held today, Sunday 5th February, at Illawarra Sailing Club, Warrawong.
The meeting was attended by 28 members, with many familiar faces and a lot of new ones too.
The gathering heard reports from the President and the Treasurer, discussed general business, and elected the management Committee for 2012.
ORRCA President, Janine Davies extended her thanks to retiring Committee stalwarts Pete Pritchard and Jean Meaney for the dedication and commitment they have given over the past 7 years.
The newly elected Committee are as follows:
President Janine Davies
1st Vice President Shona Lorigan
2nd Vice President Ronny Ling
Secretary Alison Cooper
Member Leanne Maffesoni
Member Vicki O’Cass
Member Wayne Reynolds
Member Dave Harriman
Member Su Jewell
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) says ropes, fishing nets, plastic bags and other items frequently kill whales, dolphins, turtles and sea birds and care must be taken to keep our waters clear of such debris.
NPWS Marine Fauna Program Coordinator Geoff Ross says a dead humpback whale that drifted to shore near Port Kembla on Wednesday was entangled in a rope, and most likely died as a result.
“There were many signs that this whale was very ill before death and I have little doubt this was caused by the rope constricting its pectoral fin,” Mr Ross said.
“Before the whale died, the rope would have been very tightly wrapped around it judging by indentations on its abdomen and severe bone-deep cuts on the pectoral fins."
"It was also covered in whale lice, which swarm in great numbers all over the body when a marine animal is injured, unwell or otherwise hampered"
“Numerous cookie-cutter shark bites were found on the body, also an indication of the debilitating affects of the rope entanglement."
“The whale was completely wrapped by the 25mm thick nylon rope which had no identifying buoys or markings and I suspect was used for securing cargo or hawser lines."
“This whale has since reappeared further south and NPWS has notified Kiama Municipal Council and offers support and advice regarding the carcass."
“Unfortunately we are seeing more marine wildlife suffering from the effects of becoming entangled in or ingesting marine debris, especially plastics."
“Seals, marine turtles, seabirds and whales are all at risk and the NSW Scientific Committee has recognised entanglement and debris ingestion as one of 36 key threatening processes under the Threatened Species Conservation Act of 1995."
“Turtles are extremely vulnerable to entanglement from nets, ropes and other debris."
“A recent CSIRO study by Mark Carey found on average dead seabirds had 7.6 particles of ingested plastic in their digestive tracts."
“Some marine debris will always occur, but I remind recreational and commercial fishers and vessel operators who use equipment on or near the sea to be mindful and secure ropes and other items very well to avoid these accidental and unnecessary deaths."
“If you see an entangled marine animal or one in distress, call NPWS on 1300 361 967 and the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) on 9415 3333,” Mr Ross said.
Visit our gallery for images of the entangled Humpback whale
Photos for news media:
Read about species threatened by marine debris here:
More about marine animal conservation here:
Read the CSIRO study into seabirds here: