Marine debris weaved into work of art

Published: 04/06/2015

Traditional weavers are joining forces with Townsville students to raise awareness of marine debris issues.

Kirwan State High School Cultural Arts group and traditional weavers Sue Ryan and Greg Adams are teaching their Indigenous students the art of weaving, using reclaimed ghost nets.

The Ghost Net Turtle project is part of Kirwan State High School’s ongoing commitment as Reef Guardians to educate their students and the local community about the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Held at Reef HQ Aquarium, the weaving workshop also aims to generate awareness of how marine debris affects the marine environment.

A ghost net is a plastic fishing net lost or discarded at sea from a fishing boat. It continues to drift with the tides and ‘fish’ on its own – that is, to entrap and kill marine life – sometimes for many years. A net’s ‘ghostly’ ability to continue fishing by itself has given rise to its name.

The weaving workshop will culminate in an official unveiling of a new permanent ghost net turtle display on 9 June to celebrate World Ocean Day. The completed ghost net turtle will span approximately 2.7m long and 2.6m wide and be suspended internally from the Reef HQ Aquarium roof.

The collection of ghost nets and ropes has been greatly supported by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Mapoon Rangers and local collectors within the community.

Reef Guardian Schools provides a pathway for students to be active community leaders in environmental sustainability and encourages schools to commit to a better future for the Great Barrier Reef.


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