Local fishers haul in welcome funding boost

Published: 26/02/2015

Valuable fish tagging efforts by volunteers have received a helping hand thanks to a donation by the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC).

The committee has donated $1700 to the Bundaberg Sportfishing Club which has tagged more than 21,000 fish over the past 30 years.

Kevin Charteris from the Bundaberg Sportfishing Club said tagging fish helps to increase local knowledge about growth rates, fish movements and survival rates of various species of fish.

“This data all contributes to a broader understanding of recreational fishing species, and is used by fisheries researchers and managers," he said.

"For example, data collected by local anglers on tagged and recaptured fish show Australian bass captured in Lake Cania near Monto grow 3.2 centimetres a year, while those in Lake Gregory, southwest of Bundaberg, only manage 0.8 centimetres a year.

“By using tags, we’ve also found the biggest distance travelled by an Australian bass is a whopping 320 kilometres. This was during the 2013 flood, which enabled fish to move both downstream and upstream.

“With each tag costing two dollars, the club is thankful to the LMAC for providing funds to help us to continue the program into 2015.”

Bundaberg Sportfishing Club members predominately use a ‘catch and release’ method, and fish from freshwater rivers and impoundments, right through to saltwater estuaries and open water.

The club is affiliated with Suntag, the largest recreational fishing citizen science program in Australia, helping improve the knowledge and handling of species targeted by fishers.

Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee chair Sue Sargent said the committee was pleased to assist the local club.

“Following a presentation by Kevin Charteris at our last meeting, we gained a clear understanding of the value of fish tagging,” she said.

“It’s great to see this local data on fisheries being collected and contributed to broader efforts.”

The Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee, and 11 other similar committees, give their time voluntarily to advise the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on marine issues and undertake regional environmental projects.

Committees will begin a new term in July, and are seeking members from across all sectors of the community who would like to nominate.

Interested people are encouraged to contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s local office on (07) 4921 4055 for further information.

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846