Over the next two weeks, oyster farmers on the Sapphire Coast will descend onto the foreshores of Pambula, Merimbula, Nelsons, Wonboyn and Wapengo Lakes for a mass industry led clean-up event called "Tide to Tip".
This is the second year of the event, which is organised jointly by OceanWatch Australia & Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters, that sees oyster growers lead marine debris clean-ups in estuaries across the state.
Out on the water every day, oyster farmers have an intimate knowledge of their local environment, and regularly collect rubbish they find floating in the estuary. Tide to Tip not only provides a way for fishers and farmers to give back to the estuaries in which they work but helps to ensure Australian waterways remain pristine and healthy for generations to come.
Local oyster farmer, Brett Weingarth from Captain Sponge's Magical Oyster Tours and Chair of Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters said
"Oyster farmers in our region are always interested in anything which not only protects and enhances our water quality but promotes the importance of it to the wider community.
"Our statewide involvement as farmers will remove many tonnes of refuse from our beautiful and productive estuaries which would have otherwise been destined for the ocean.
As an organisation, SCWO has a very strong record of environmental protection and education within our community and are always eager to partner with other like-minded agencies (such as OceanWatch) and local, state and federal government to attain environmental protection outcomes particularly in regards to water quality".
Wonboyn Rock Oyster's Kel Henry said the Tide to Tip grows on existing clean ups by oyster growers.
"We've been doing estuary clean-ups in Wonboyn for last 20 years,.but Tide to Tip is particularly great because it's be an industry-wide event, across the state and across Australia. It's a fantastic initiative and we encourage everyone to get involved. We support it 100 per cent."
Twenty one estuaries across NSW and QLD will be cleaned this year following a successful start last year. More than 12 tonnes of waste was removed in the inaugural 2020 Tide to Tip clean up. Waste will also be sorted and counted with the data provided to the Australian Marine Debris Database
Partners include NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Local Land Services, Clean-up Australia, Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters and OceanWatch Australia. The clean-ups are supported by the NSW Landcare Program - a collaboration of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc with government support.