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Queensland Urban Utilities Turtle Salvage

We just love working with clients for whom environmental responsibility is not simply a slogan. Queensland Urban Utilities recently demonstrated their commitment to environmental responsibility when they contracted frc environmental to relocate freshwater turtles from sewage treatment ponds at Laidley, Forest Hill and Boonah. Using our custom-built fyke nets and turtle traps, frc environmental’s salvage team led by Ms Lauren Pratt and Dr Bob Bentley, relocated over 800 turtles representing four species to the Bremer River. QUU supported a salvage effort dictated by the ‘real-time’ analysis of CPU (catch per unit of effort), ensuring the exercise was far more than ‘window dressing’. Lauren, who needed to keep a close eye on the ‘freeboard’ afforded by her waders, commented that ‘whilst

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Swimming with Whales

I’m just back from a project in Tonga, studying the whale tourism industry. The thing about ‘swimming with whales’ is you’re not simply swimming in the same ocean as the whales, you’re swimming with the whales. It’s very clearly a two-way interaction. The Tongan government rightly regulates the industry to manage the impact of tourism on the whales (much as Australian governments do): swimmers may not approach within 5m of a whale. But there are no such restrictions on the whales’ behaviour. Thirty five tonne, 17m long whales commonly approach and even gently nudge swimmers. When a mother brings her 3 month old calf back, time and again to have a better look at you, there’s something going on. It’s

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Biologists, Fish and the Possibility of Something Good

The Neptune Islands are famous for their great white sharks that congregate to feed on the pups of New Zealand fur seals, and prior to their local extinction (likely in the mid 1900s), little penguins. But true to nature, the sharks don’t always appear ‘on cue’. After 4 days ‘in the cage’, in water much colder than I’m used to, with no sharks sighted it was time to head back to the office. Whilst the sharks may have been fickle, the temperate waters surrounding North and South Neptune islands team with life. Near the surface silver trevally form dense schools occasionally parted by large yellowtail kingfish. Closer to the bottom were dense kelp beds covering rocky outcrops. Also near the

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