Introducing Rec Fishers for the Murray Darling Basin

A “gold-medal” fishery that is both healthy and productive is what the new group of anglers want for the Murray Darling Basin.

A GROUP of passionate anglers has formed to provide a representative voice for those who fish the embattled Murray Darling Basin.

The group describes itself on social media as one that has “identified the critical need for anglers to be better engaged and consulted in the management and delivery of water in our rivers, lakes, dams and wetlands in which we fish.”

Albury angler and spokesperson Phill Beasley said the group is determined to generate stronger interest and acknowledgement from government and relevant stakeholders that the fishing community play a key role in helping to create healthier rivers.

He described past and current consultative efforts by government and water management agencies as productive, but says if the Murray Darling Basin is to be celebrated as one of Australia’s “gold medal” fisheries, recreational anglers need to be invited to the water-planning table.

“There are no winners when our rivers are sick and it’s clear that for those who fish and live in the Basin we need to have a stronger voice in both water management and Basin Plan objectives across all platforms.”

“This could be an invitation to a local water planning meeting or to meet with the Prime Minister to talk about how fishing in the Basin supports a 1.35 billion industry.”

Mr Beasley started fishing in the early 1960s at a young age when the conditions were so clear that he could see the bottom of the river, but over time river regulation has impacted on its clarity and placed the system’s native fish population at less than 10 percent.

Fellow member Troy Bright from Deniliquin is a well-known fishing identity and advocate in his local region who has worked tirelessly to see more fishers take an active role in understanding water management.

“We have to achieve the best possible outcomes for our native fish and in my view that means creating as many opportunities for our fishing community to better understand how this resource is being impacted upon by flows – good and bad.”

“If you ask any rec’ fisher about environmental water, black water, fish screens, cold water pollution or irrigation flows – you will have their attention, but it’s whether or not they understand these issues and want to get involved in them is another question.”

Mr Bright said one of group’s many objectives was to address how the current constraints management strategy is impacting on recreational fishing.

“Anglers are the eyes and ears above and below the water in their local fishery and we want more opportunities to help plan how water is being delivered to where it needs to go because at the moment, it’s not working for our native fish.”

The Recreational Fishers for the Murray Darling Basin recently launched on Facebook and has already attracted several hundred followers, including high profile recreational anglers.

For more information about the group or how to get involved, they can be contacted via their Facebook page:

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