Tasmania's journal of discovery

Dolphin capers

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A pod of dolphins, two adults and four young ones, was spotted on September 2 feeding in the busy working port area of Sullivan’s Cove. A week later they were still at it.

They are not the first dolphins to be sighted in the area over recent months but they obligingly came close enough to shore for Graeme Paine to take these evocative photographs.

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That dolphins are happy to be in these waters is a tribute to the work done to restore the Derwent estuary to something like its former pristine state. And for once, government, councils, local industries and the community, have got together to aid the cleanup.

The examples given by Christine Coughanowr, manager of the part-government Derwent Estuary Program, show how effective the clean-up has been since it started in 1999.

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There has been a 30 per cent decrease in heavy metals from the Pasminco zinc smelter outfall, a 5 per cent decrease in organic loads from the Boyer pulp mill outfall and a 10 per cent drop in chemical oxygen demand from sewage plants.

On a smaller scale, trapping waste dumped by unthinking people or carried by the wind into small waterways, such as the Sandy Bay rivulet, has meant less rubbish reaches the Derwent.

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Photography by Graeme Paine, of the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment.

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