Year 9 students of Shelford Girls’ College conducted shoreline shell and litter surveys at Middle Brighton today. Shells found were typical of the species gathered by Boon Wurrung (traditional owners) from shore platforms along the east coast of the Bay. They included abalone, turbos, and several species of limpets. But the most notable find was a large cart-rut shell (Thais orbita).
This species is known to be affected by Tributyltin (TBT), the active chemical in some boat hull anti-fouling paints. Use of anti-fouling paints containing TBT were banned in Victoria in 1989 for use on recreational boats, but still permitted on commercial ships. Baykeeper shoreline surveys conducted around the Bay over the past 4 years have found only a handful of these shells. Thais orbita is a predator of other molluscs known to inhabit rocky shores to 10m deep.