THE release of a green sea turtle at Kingscliff beach on Thursday, was the perfect occasion to launch a new Marine Action Conservation Society (MACS) aimed at turning the Tweed coast into the ‘clean and green coast’.
Last August, 10-year-old Kingscliff Public School student Josh Petty-Kook saw a green sea turtle float at the surface during a fishing trip with his dad Brett and immediately asked his father to steer their boat toward the animal.
The duo was fishing near Cook Island, off the Tweed coast, and thought they’d spotted a dead sea turtle.
Josh said they steered the boat towards the lifeless animal but soon realised it was still alive.
“I tried to pick it up and bring it aboard the boat but it tried to bite me,” Josh said.
After avoiding the turtle’s vicious beak, Josh and his dad managed to bring the struggling animal aboard and transported it back to Tweed harbour.
Josh said it was apparent the turtle was in a lot of trouble with fishing line wrapped around its flippers and plastic material lodged in its mouth.
Josh and his dad brought the injured animal ashore and contacted Kingscliff’s Watersports Guru shop owner Tim Jack Adams who took charge of the turtle, put it in his bathtub to ensure it remained wet and called Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) in Ballina to ask for help.
The badly injured turtle was picked up by ASR which diagnosed the animal as having ingested plastic bags.
Following three months of rehabilitation, the turtle, dubbed Macs, was released back into its natural environment at Kingscliff beach, not far from the location where young Josh rescued the animal.
Josh and his entire class from Kingscliff Public School, attended the launch of the Marine Action Conservation Society which was formed by Tim Adams and local conservationists Michael Manley and Tim Bowling.
Tim said as owner of Watersports Guru one of the business’ main tours was snorkelling with turtles and about 50 green sea turtles called Cook Island home.
The type of incident which saw Macs ingest plastic was relatively common and only recently Tim had seen a loggerhead turtle which had died from swallowing plastic.
“The tide and swell take any plastic bags which end up in the ocean, straight out to where the turtles live.
“They confuse the bags for jelly fish and eat them.
“There are a lot of things we can’t do anything about but this is something we can do something about,” Mr Adams said.
The team behind the newly formed marine conservation society aims to develop a range of coastal and marine based environment projects under the broad categories of conservation, activism, research, education and sustainability (CARES).