Fishing’s future in focus at national conference


THE Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) recently announced that the 2019 National Recreational Fishing Conference will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, and focus on how every fisher can help steer Australia’s recreational fishing future through taking part in citizen science projects.

Our Fishing, Our Research, Our Recreational Future is the theme of this year’s Conference, promising to celebrate, inform and expand Australia’s vibrant recreational fishing citizen science programs. The conference will be held across two days, December 10 and 11, 2019, and will incorporate the National Recreational Fishing Gala Dinner and Recognitions Awards. The conference will be live-streamed, allowing all interested fishers to engage and discover ways that they can contribute positively to the future of our sport.

Every Aussie fisher has the ability to take part in citizen science projects and influence the future of their favourite pastime, but many don’t understand how easy and fun it is or how important their contributions could be.

The National Recreational Fishing Conference aims to dissect the role of citizen science in recreational fishing, put it under the proverbial microscope and share the hows, wheres and whys so all Australians who love fishing can play their part in steering the sport into a strong and valued position in the future.

 “Aussie fishers have been participating in citizen science projects for decades and the data they’ve generated has shored up the quality of our recreational fishing experiences – both now and into the future – through helping us understand fish behaviour and species range, range extension, post-release survival, genetics, habitat health, feral invasion and more,” ARFF Chairman, Brett Cleary said.

‘Citizen Science’ is a trendy buzz-phrase in many fields of study across the globe, but it’s not a new concept. The Gamefish Tagging Program, for example, is the largest saltwater tagging program of its kind in the world. It’s has been run by the NSW Government since 1973 and is used to collect data on the biology, distribution, movement, growth and numbers of billfish, tunas, sharks and sport fish and encourages game fishers to actively participate in the management of their fishery.

The National Recreational Fishing Conference is being supported with funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government, with good reason.

“Recreational fishers have the potential to significantly contribute to the future of recreational fishing in Australia and more broadly on the health of our aquatic environments, which is the foundation of a healthy fishery.” Josh Fielding, Senior Research Portfolio Manager with FRDC said.

“Data is the future,” claims Fielding. “At the rate recreational fishers are out and about — and the technology they have at their fingertips – the opportunities are almost endless.”

The dates and location of the conference have been chosen to tie in with the World Fly Fishing Championships, being held in Tasmania from November 30 to December 8. Tasmania is bound to be abuzz with fishing energy off the back of this momentous event and that fervor is sure to continue as the conference sheds light on the influence fishers can have through participating in citizen science projects.

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