Sea Shelter A New Marine Conservation Entity for Port Stephens and Hunter Regions

Lia Pereira, founder of Sea Shelter working with the endangered sharks breeding program at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters at Bobs Farm. Photo by Marian Sampson
Lia Pereira, founder of Sea Shelter working with the endangered sharks breeding program at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters at Bobs Farm. Photo by Marian Sampson

 

SEA Shelter is a new Port Stephens Not-For-Profit, dedicated to local marine conservation, founded by Marine Biologist Ryan Pereira and his partner Lia Pereira, who are also the owners of Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters at Bobs Farm.

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The duo are passionate about preserving the local environment and assisting species that are endangered or threatened.

Lia Pereira told News Of The Area, “Irukandji is involved in some breeding programs to assist threatened species.”

She believes that there is a need for conservation at local and national levels, which will see species which are threatened, preserved along with unique environments.

“Sea Shelter is about research, rehabilitation, rescue and regeneration.”

The Sea Shelter research program will contribute to the knowledge base of Elasmobranchs (cartilaginous fish, including sharks), recording age and growth characteristics which will allow Sea Shelter to construct an aged-based population model on these species.

Sea Shelter will fill a gap in the region where there is minimal rehabilitation available for marine animals, specifically fish.
There are also plans to undertake a program which will rescue animals from traps and nets.

“The Port Stephens region has areas of mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass beds, giant sponge beds, soft corals and tiny sea horse gardens that can benefit from regeneration.”

Lia believes that Port Stephens and the Hunter is an ecological hotspot in Australia and that Sea Shelter’s mission to maintain, assist in attenuation programs or regenerate the habitats already lost is beneficial to the environment.

“Sea Shelter runs entirely through volunteers who donate their time to the ocean, and hopefully generous donations of the public, with all funds raised going straight to the ocean,” she said.

You can find out more about Sea Shelter and contributing to a positive impact on the Port Stephens environment by visiting seashelter.org.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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