Raine Island under spotlight

RESEARCHERS are travelling to remote Raine Island, on the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef for the start of the nesting season at the world’s largest green turtle nesting site.
Raine Island under spotlight Raine Island under spotlight Raine Island under spotlight Raine Island under spotlight Raine Island under spotlight

The island is one of the most closely monitored green turtle breeding grounds in the world.

Last season drones were used for the first time to provide "eye-in-the-sky" monitoring and confirm that the reshaped section of island retained its integrity.

Great Barrier Reef and National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles said this would be the third monitoring season since the decision was taken to intervene to save the sand island, which is a nesting ground for about 60,000 green turtles each year.

"The results from last year's monitoring validated the drastic decision to reshape part of the nesting beach to combat erosion and the team is also looking forward to continuing its work to measure the long-term resilience of the project," Miles said.

This year the research team will be equipped with iPads loaded with an electronic database developed especially for the project by spatial information technology consultants we-do-IT.

The Raine Island Recovery Project Electronic Recording Database was developed pro bono by we-do-IT, which also donated five iPads specially fitted with military grade protective housings to withstand the harsh conditions.

"Up until now the researchers have recorded information on paper datasheets but, thanks to this generous donation, they will be able to record all field data from turtle counts to geomorphology surveys, directly into one integrated system," Miles said.

"This will give researchers the ability to track how many times each of the satellite-tagged turtles returns to lay clutches of eggs at Raine Island throughout the season."

The team will also be making any necessary repairs to the fences that prevent turtles from tipping over the cliffs created by the erosion at Raine Island.

The Raine Island Recovery Project is a five-year, $7.95 million collaboration between BHP Billiton, the Queensland government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Wuthathi Nation and the Kemer Kemer Meriam Nation Traditional Owners and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.