Mackay coral collector is a reef champion

A Mackay marine aquarium fish and coral collector is the second of his trade to be inducted into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardians Program.

Mackay local Nic Dos Santos, owner of Ultra Coral, joined the voluntary stewardship program which recognises commercial fishers who undertake practices to help protect the inshore environment.

Marine Park Authority manager Randall Owens said best environmental practices were essential for the long-term sustainability of fisheries resources and crucial for maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

“We’re delighted these fish and coral collectors are operating in an environmentally sustainable way and we hope it encourages others in the industry to adopt similar practices,” he said.

“A healthy Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is important for the Reef’s health and also provides for a viable commercial fishing industry.

“All actions — big or small — are vital to building the resilience of the Reef and help reduce pressures on the inshore environment.”

Mr Dos Santos is excited to share his knowledge as a Reef Guardian and contribute to research.

“I want to share what we do and show people that we care and improve the way that we, as an industry, communicate what we do,” Mr Dos Santos said.

“I see the future of my business as zero reliance on the power grid and producing our own power and recycling and reusing as much as we can.”

Among their innovative environmental practices, Ultra Coral use purified rainwater for husbandry needs, reuse water and saltwater for cleaning and have pledged energy efficiency for business.

The commercial marine aquarium fish and coral collectors join reef line fishers, large mesh gill net fisheries and trawl fishers that are part of the Reef Guardians program.

Reef Guardian Fishers is part of a broader Reef Guardian program involving more than 15 councils, over 300 schools, and 25 farmers and graziers taking part in on-ground environmental projects that benefit the Reef.

Participating fishers publicly show their commitment to the Reef by displaying a Reef Guardian sign on their boats.