THRIVING: The green turtle population is thriving, depsite the devastating floods almost a year ago. These two turtles are at Neptune’s Reefworld.
THRIVING: The green turtle population is thriving, depsite the devastating floods almost a year ago. These two turtles are at Neptune’s Reefworld. Alistair Brightman

Turtles are thriving

THE region's turtle and dugong population is thriving despite the devastating floods almost a year ago.

After the 2011 floods there were concerns the silt and debris in the water would blanket the seagrass and starve both species.

Dugongs and turtles rely on the seagrass beds as their main source of food.

After ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald battered the Fraser Coast a year ago the local sea life faced another stretch of scarce food in the region.

Murky water and low salinity that followed the 2011 floods was expected to once again impact seagrass supply.

However local fisherman Geoff Melksham has been fishing in the region for more than 30 years and he says there are more turtles than ever before.

"There are more turtles out there now than I have ever seen in my life," he said.

"You can see them on the flats out there.

"When we were kids you'd see one or two but now there are heaps."

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokesman said green turtle populations in the Southern Great Barrier Reef waters (which incorporate the Fraser Coast) were strong.

"While the floods in recent years have impacted some inshore seagrass meadows there has been no impact on the more extensive algal

pastures throughout most of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

"This is supported by the many thousands of green turtles that are currently nesting nightly on the coral cays of the southern Great Barrier Reef with nesting numbers greater than we recorded in 2011 and 2012 seasons.

"In addition, marine wild-life stranding data show a downward trend in turtle and dugong strandings since 2011."