Sea Slug Census

Nelson Bay is a Sea Slug hot-spot with more than 250 unique species so far identified in Port Stephens waters.  As sensitive as they are striking, the Sea Slugs are a reliable indicator of ocean health, so the census plays an important role in preserving the port’s 98,000 hectare marine park – and anyone can take part.  Each year, the census attracts more divers and sees more species added to the list – many of them as yet unclassified.

Volunteer divers from all over NSW converge on Port Stephens to take part in the Sea Slug Census. Sea Slug spotters buddy-up to capture the colourful creatures on underwater cameras by diving or snorkelling. Even rock pools are explored during the hunt. 

The census starts on the high tide, at 10:11am on September 9 with a post-dive lunch planned for Fly Point from 11:30-1pm (BYO food and drink).

“We have such an incredible diversity of Sea Slugs in Port Stephens that people travel from Sydney and as far north as Coffs Harbour to take part.”  Says Danny Eather, Destination Marketing Manager for Destination Port Stephens. 

“The project is all about generating awareness of these beautiful creatures and the valuable contribution they make to monitoring and preserving the health of our greatest natural asset.”

The pristine waters of Port Stephens are home to a vast range of shell-less marine molluscs including the vibrant Nudibranchs. “This is undoubtedly one of the most prolific and diverse populations of Nudibranch specimens in NSW and one of the most accessible, because it’s in an estuary.”  says local diving expert Tom Davis. 

“We wanted to get the community on board with the collection of data on the local marine ecology,”  Tom said. “Sea slugs are so visually striking, they appeal to a lot of recreational divers with a keen interest in photography, so the census was a great way to engage the local diving community.” The high visibility of the slow moving Sea Slugs makes them relatively easy to monitor and ideal subjects for keen photographers.

Census Guidelines

  1. Photos for the census must be taken in Port Stephens on Saturday 9th September 2017.
  2. Each team should send in one photo for each species of sea slug they encounter on census day. You don’t need to identify the slugs, just take their photos!
  3. Photos should be cropped around the slug, shrunk to around 640x480 pixels, and submitted by email or dropbox to seaslugcensus@gmail.comby Sunday 17th September 2017.
  4. Emails must give the names of the team, and details of the sites where photos were taken.
  5. To get involved, register now by email: seaslugcensus@gmail.com

Take part in this sea slug census for your chance to win some great prizes from Let's Go Adventures!

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