03-December-2020 (written by Mike Taylor)
We are excited to report back on our first field trip to Shark Bay as part of the Gathaagudu Animal Tracking (GAT) Project. The team of co-CIs Ana Sequeira and Matthew Fraser, and members Takahiro Shimada and Mike Taylor were rewarded in making the 1,600 km round trip from Perth to Denham in Shark Bay with spectacular views and the chance to get to know the stakeholders in that World Heritage Area.
This new GAT project builds on the recognition that Malgana Traditional Owners are active custodians of their Sea Country and have essential knowledge vital for the effective co-management and conservation of Gathaagudu. As we will be satellite tagging species of great cultural importance, we met with some Malgana Traditional Owners and members of the Malgana Aboriginal Corporation to gain a greater understanding of Gathaagudu (Shark Bay in the indigenous Malgana language) and of their own interests for the future of this special place. Timing our arrival to coincide with the release of the WAMSI marine research snapshot, we also established invaluable new relationships with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Denham community.
During our trip, we took the chance to explore the region, and had a glimpse of some of the iconic animals that we will be tagging next year, including the green turtles (buyungurra) and dugongs (wuthuga).
With many more trips planned to Shark Bay, we cannot wait to return in 2021!