144 smallBy Josh Coates, Marine Programs Officer

Launched in October 2013, the CAFNEC Marine Response Team (MRT) has been building a strong base for marine conservation action into 2014. Far North Queensland enjoys one of the most spectacular and diverse marine environments anywhere in the world. Protecting this natural heritage is crucial to our unique cultural, spiritual and economic identity.

Engaging the community in caring for our natural assets is crucial in addressing the range of threats to our reef and coastal ecosystems. The MRT is volunteers coming together to achieve conservation outcomes for our marine environment. This means preventing threats, addressing existing threats and restoring damaged ecosystems/species.

The MRT is in the process of building an enduring team that has the capability to proactively address issues and react quickly to emerging threats. We seek to enjoy our activity, respect each other and learn about our environment, ourselves and others.

The MRT will take proactive action to educate the public and decision makers and prevent threats. We will respond to existing threats by awareness raising, direct activities to protect and restore threatened habitat, and facilitating community involvement in decision making.

We are a hands-on fun and dynamic team of like-minded people who are prepared to give their time and help others to take action for our sea-life. We already count as team members people from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, with an exciting range of skills and backgrounds; from marine biologists to divers, to office workers and students.

Our model is to empower people to make positive change a reality. We facilitate leadership and action in a friendly, social and collaborative space where all members are valued and we support each other to achieve our goals. Regardless of your age, skills or background we will seek to find ways that your unique skill set can make the whole more than the sum of its parts.

Just a few of the exciting activities in the pipeline for the new year include shark conservation work, learning from and working with Traditional Owners, marine mammal population assessment, addressing dredge spoil dumping and an exciting marine themed art event raising awareness of the marine environment.

If you are interested in joining the MRT in 2014 please read more at https://cafnec.org.au/what-we-do/marine-conservation/marine-response-team/ and contact the MRT coordinator at marine@nullcafnec.org.au or 4032 1586