by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
In the lead up to a recent breakfast meeting with new owners of Australian Kelp products, GGOG, locals urged caution regarding seaweed harvesting in the Rivoli Bay area saying that the winter build up of kelp helps protect the fragile coast.
“Seaweed on the beach slows erosion; when the weed is deposited on the beach it traps sand and slows down the waves that cause erosion. Seaweed is an integral part of the ocean and seashore ecosystems and in light of serious erosion problems of Rivoli Bay and the economics of professional and recreational fishing, we are urging all parties to think carefully before supporting any removal of seaweed from ‘our’ beaches, ” said Kym and Liz Redman
Gather Great Ocean Group ( GGOG) have purchased Australian Kelp Products. The only commercial seaweed licence in South Australia was previously owned by Bevan and Susan Mills, to harvest seaweed from the beaches on the South Australian Limestone Coast, for the production of liquid kelp fertilisers and dry seaweed products for livestock supplements.
In 2013, Australian Kelp Products received a government grant of $38,045-00 to upgrade their facilities near Millicent in the South East, but have since sold to GGOG.
Since the meeting, Mr Redman has provided the following photos of the Southend Beach foredune, taken on 5/8/2014, explaining his concern about the negative effects of the removal of seaweed from the area, which he says protects the foredunes.
“Photos taken earlier in the day show how kelp build up protects the foredunes and the later ones show erosion due to the swell action actually hitting them,” he said.
Mr Redman is concerned that many people from the area only visit the beach during summer and don’t realise the value of winter build up of kelp that helps protect the fragile sand based coastline.
“Most places where kelp is harvested, have rock based shorelines with little affect from the removal of some kelp,” he said, “not sand like the local coastline.”
King Island is an example of this where an approximate 3000 tonnes of kelp are harvested annually from their very rocky shores.
The photo of the Beach Ramp shows existing erosion but with a kelp build up protecting it from further erosion.
Local businessman Brian Foster queried the seasonal impact of the availability of seaweed for harvesting, at the meeting. As an experienced diver, he said he has noticed the quantities of seaweed varies from year to year.
GGOG told wattlerangenow that extensive research has been carried out and environmental matters have been considered.