THE NSW Police force has been introducing initiatives to engage with communities in the state – one such initiative has been getting kids involved in recreational fishing.
As reported in Police Monthly, fishing workshops for kids aged 8-14 were conducted in the Lake Illawarra area where kids were taught about fishing safety, responsible fishing, fish habitats, rigging, baiting and casting techniques.
“The kids really enjoy the experience and police also enjoy the interaction, especially when we go for a fish together. You can’t beat the smile on a kid’s face when they catch a fish,” said Inspector Steve Johnson of the Lake Illawarra Local Area Command.
“The activities are designed to give these children some skills in and knowledge about one the most popular outdoor recreational activities in Australia. Recreational fishing has health and well-being benefits that go beyond the ability to just relax and unwind, for children particularly from vulnerable communities it has the real potential to divert them away from risk taking behaviours,” said Inspector Johnson.
The first workshop, titled “Cops and Koori Kids”, has been hailed a great success. Secifically run for Aboriginal children, the workshop included a talk on traditional Aboriginal fishing methods.
The NSW Police reports that approximately 80 children have participated in the workshops and feedback has been extremely positive – including a strong response from local media outlets who provided coverage in magazines, newspapers and on television.
The local Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, Layne Brown; Fisheries Education Officer Steven Thurstan and staff attached to Lake Illawarra LAC have all assisted with
the program, which is proudly supported by McGlashan Media and Fishing World magazine.
Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said the initiative was “a great way of police working with other government and commercial organisations to provide a great service to their local community.”
The Lake Illawarra LAC’s Kids Fishing Workshops are conducted with the assistance of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fishing & Aquaculture), who provide a Fisheries Education Officer and Fishcare Program volunteers. The Program is funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust and as such the workshops are free of charge to the participants. The next workshop is scheduled for 3 October 2012.