Young diver and marine photographer Georgia Poyner and her father Jon have been busy off Narooma counting tropical fish species that seem to be lost and way too far south.
So far 15-year-old Georgia and Jon have sighted more than 60 confirmed different tropical fish species and have logged more than 150 unusual marine sightings. Some of the most common species are butterfly fishes, surgeon fishes, damsel fishes and others.
They are conducted focussed surveys for the University of Technology Sydney working on two main sections, the first being from in front of Australia Rock in to the inlet and town wharf. The second section extends further into the inlet from the town wharf to Narooma Bridge.
She also reports on any tropical species when they dive outside in the open ocean, whether that is off Dalmeny or out at Montague Island.
They have also made observations of the local seals in Wagonga Inlet swimming among fish and are of the opinion that these marine mammals are not having an impact on commonly-caught species in the estuary.
They have recently spotted another 10 rare and protected black estuary cod, all in very close proximity to each other, while doing their tropical fish surveys.
“They are one of my favourite fish species. Got an awesome personality,” Georgia said.
The Poyners have been submitting their observations to the national online Red Map project, which is tracking unusual fish sightings around Australia. Click here to get to Red Map
Georgia will also be giving a talk in Narooma for the Nature Coast Marine Group where she will describe some of the fish she has seen, the Red Map project and she also has information sheets and stickers to give out.
Her Nature Coast Marine Group presentation is at 2pm on Saturday, June 4 at the National Parks office meeting room in Narooma. It will be a chance to see some of the coast’s unusual and spectacular marine life while staying warm and dry. Short videos and photos taken by other local divers will also be shown.
Compared to that of Australia’s bird life, the range of marine species is much less well known. The citizen science web project called Red Map is gradually adding to this important information.
Come a few minutes before 2pm to share a cuppa and chat at the National Park’s meeting room on the corner of Graham and Burrawang Streets, Narooma.
Georgia, who is currently in Year 10 at Narooma High School, is hoping to spend some time doing work experience for one of the respected marine studies universities.