Surf Beach Sunderland Bay Coastcare

Care for the coast you love

Join the Nurdle Hunters – Marine Debris Survey – Surf Beach 19 July 2015

on July 20, 2015

SBSB Coastcare Marine Debris Survey team 19 July 2015 SBSB Coastcare Rob and Ineke collecting nurdles Nurdle close up

Have you ever seen a “nurdle” on the beach? Look closely at the tideline and you may find these small 2-3 mm plastic pellets that are washing up all over Port Phillip Bay and have now migrated down the coast to Phillip Island. They are industrial polyethylene pellets, and have been tracked by Port Phillip Ecocentre’s Coordinator and Baykeeper, Neil Blake, coming from stormwater systems into Port Phillip Bay, with the likely source of spills from loading bays in industrial areas of Melbourne.

Port Phillip Baykeeper report Nurdle Soup? Preliminary investigation of nurdles in Port Phillip Bay Oct 2013

Our SBSB Coastcare group conducted a Marne Debris Survey along Surf Beach and found many “nurdles” along with other small plastic chips, bottle tops, bags and rope etc. We are going to collate our results and put the data onto the Tangarora Blue Australian Marine Debris Initiative website.

The main concern is the threat from plastics to our local wildlife and in particular the Short-tailed Shearwaters who are known to ingest the plastics and feed them to their chicks. And this is happening when they breed on our coastline at Phillip Island.

The CSIRO research paper by Mark J.Carey on the Intergenerational transfer of plastic debris by Short-tailed Shearwaters, provides some detailed insight into this problem.

Carey 2011 Shearwater plastics

We would like to extend a callout to all other Coastcare groups at Phillip Island and beyond to include a Marine Debris clean up and survey as part of your activities. We are happy to share our resources and provide support.
We are also in the process of planning a series of COASTCARE FILM NIGHTS & COMMUNITY FORUMS with the first topic being Coastcare Action on Marine Debris.
Stay tuned for more details to come!
If you would like to get involved and provide support please contact us at

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