It has been a quiet few months for our Ramsar project. The pandemic and associated restrictions have drastically reduced recreational boating, which is the focus of our activities. Being conscious of the need to balance human needs with environmental concerns, we are very sympathetic to the impact that the pandemic will have had on many local businesses. Bait shops, for instance, are often small, family-owned enterprises that have had to shut for months. We hope that they will recover, as they are part of the mosaic of activities that form the Biosphere. Looking at the natural world, it is too early to tell what impact this year’s limited human activity will have had on Western Port, and if there will be any lasting effects, for instance on fish-stocks. The restrictions are actually hampering our ability to try to find answers to these questions. For example, the Victorian Wader Study Group has had to cancel nearly all field work this year.
The Foundation’s Ramsar Project Officer was involved in preparing our submission on the AGL EES and in coordinating the MACA forum. In the next quarter, it is hoped that outside rather than office based activities can resume. Meetings with angling clubs and fishing-charter operators are planned as well as continued engagement with marinas to support efforts to stop the spread of marine pests. Finally, with the team behind the magnificent “Melbourne Down Under”, we are exploring the possibility of making a Western Port short-film.