Stranding data

Seagrass beds have become stressed by repeated periods of murky water and low salinity following major flooding events in Queensland in early 2011. With seagrass being their staple diet, green turtles and dugong are struggling to find adequate food and are suffering from malnutrition. As a result there is an increased stranding rate of turtles and dugong along the entire Queensland coastline, with particular hot spot areas being Townsville and the Gladstone area.

Staff of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are working on the issue and are responding to increased numbers of stranded marine animals as a high priority.

Long-term outlook

The seagrass along Queensland's coast was severely damaged in 2011 through recent cyclones and flooding events and it will take more than a year to fully recover—in some cases several years. For that reason the trend of increased turtle and dugong mortality rates will continue until seagrass has recovered.

In the past, flooding events have adversely affected marine animals and at this stage there is little to suggest that this will have a long-term affect on Queensland's green turtle population south of Cairns to the New South Wales border as the impact from the floods and cyclones are mostly being sustained by the non-breeding immature green turtles.

Marine strandings update

A regular update on marine strandings is available, which compares the stranding numbers of turtles and dugong in Queensland with previous years.