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MEDIA RELEASE: Full house in St Helens at sell-out film event exploring disappearing kelp and urchin barrens

110 members of the St Helens community gathered last night at a sell-out film event showing Reviving Giants, created by the Great Southern Reef Foundation. It was standing-room only as the community demonstrated that they are passionate about their ocean backyard and want it managed and protected now and for future generations.

Commercial fishers, recreational fishers, teachers, environment groups and the wider community watched Reviving Giants, a film that takes a deeper diver into the issue of Tasmania’s disappearing Giant kelp forests and the efforts of local divers and scientists to regenerate their forests.

Two locals spoke after the film of their witnessing of the encroachment of the urchin barrens, and the efforts of locals to remove them, not only as recreational divers but through the Long-spined sea urchin commercial industry which removes thousands of urchins every year.

In an impassioned discussion at the end of the evening locals pledged to unite over the need for more action to manage and protect their precious ocean backyard.

Panelists:

1. Howard Jones – recreational fisher

2. Cam Mead – commercial diver and recreational diver/fisher

 

ABOUT THE FILM:

- Reviving Giants tells the remarkable story of local efforts to restore Tasmania's legendary Giant Kelp Forests at Eaglehawk Neck. Made by Great Southern Reef Foundation in partnership with Sea Forest.

 

Environment Tasmania is partnering with Great Southern Reef Foundation and Sea Forest to host an incredible film event on Tasmania’s east coast. The short film showcases the incredible marine natural values of Tasmania, and take a deeper dive into both the heroic restoration work of iconic Giant Kelp Forests on Tassie’s east coast, and the threat of Long-spined sea urchin, Centrostephanus rodgersii, which was first spotted in Tasmanian waters off Saint Helens.

 

Scott Bennett, IMAS researcher and Great Southern Reef Foundation co-founder said

“Community engagement is integral to the [Great Southern Reef} Foundation's objectives. Through creating and sharing original visual content, we’re bringing the Great Southern Reef into focus, building public awareness and fostering grassroots involvement with temperate reefs.”

 

Howard Jones, local recreational fisher, Saint Helen’s said

“The loss of the kelp forests on our inshore reefs through the grazing of Long-spined sea urchins and warming waters should be of real concern to all sea fishers. Projects to address urchins and re-establish vital kelp habitats are key to the future of our fishing. “Reviving Giants” brings these projects to the attention of those unable to view the undersea world firsthand.”

 

Rebecca Howarth, Marine Campaigner for Environment Tasmania said

“Giant kelp is a Tasmanian icon and it is an absolute tragedy that so much has been lost to climate change and invasive urchins. Action is needed now to protect and restore the remaining forests. The rrestoration work of the scientists in the short film Reviving Giants is inspiring and we are delighted to be celebrating this with the Saint Helens community this week.”

 

Healthy oceans means healthy communities. Environment Tasmania and their partners will be using these public events to connect with the community, and exploring the issues we face together and how we move forward to keep Tassie’s oceans healthy.

 

Event link:

https://events.humanitix.com/st-helens-reviving-giants-free-film-night



Reviving Giants Film link:

https://youtu.be/Eg1J-9L4X_0


MEDIA CONTACT: REBECCA HOWARTH 0493 395868

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