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Friday, April 11, 2014

FERAL OR IN PERIL; AUSMEPA ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD WINNERS 2013




The Conservation Council of South Australia Inc (CCSA) has been awarded AUSMEPA's highest acknowledgement for its marine citizen science program, Feral or In Peril (FIP).www.ausmepa.org.au


FIP has delivered significant achievements in contributing to protection of the marine environment in during the last 12 years. Hundreds of volunteers both in South Australia and in Victoria (via Reef Watch Victoria) have contributed to the success of the program.

The program was one of the first marine programs of this kind in Australia and since its implementation the program has received almost 500 reports of sightings and engaged with more than 85,000 people. It is a effective, easily replicable program to prevent and manage the spread of marine pests.

Volunteers directly input data into the new FIP online reporting system is hosted by the Atlas of Living Australia here: http://feralperil.ala.org.au The website system generates real time email alerts directly to biosecurity agencies.

Photo courtesy of Kangaroo Island NRM Board
One of the most significant achievements of the program happened in 2008 when a volunteer reported the first sighting of the European fan worm (Sabella spallanzanii) on Kangaroo Island. This instigated a major marine pest program by the KI Natural Resources Management Board.

In 2008 CCSA was able to secure funding to assist Reef Watch Victoria to set up an FIP program. They had early success with their program when reports of western and eastern blue gropers provided by volunteers led to the implementation of a 12 month moratorium on catching these species whilst further research was undertaken. 

The SA and Victorian programs also collaborated on a joint marine pest removal project at Apollo Bay, Victoria, resulting in the removal of 2.5 tonnes of Undaria pinnatifida, an invasive kelp species.

The FIP program has also been collaborating with the SA Research and development Institute (SARDI), Aquatic Sciences along who join a long list of interested and committed partners.

CCSA is the peak conservation body for South Australia, representing 50 of the State’s environment and conservation organisations. It is an independent non-profit, non party-political, community based organisation that provides resources, advice and representation for the SA environment movement, and leads many of the key conservation campaigns in SA.




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