|Fishers hooked on habitat|
More than 60 recreational fishers met with landholders, scientists and natural resource managers to talk about all things related to fish habitat at the successful Fishers for Fish Habitat Forum 2011, held in Tamworth last week.
‘The Forum provided an unparalleled opportunity for fishers from across NSW to learn more about the latest research into fish habitat and to share their stories about efforts to rehabilitate habitat and make more fish,’ said Craig Copeland, Conservation Action Unit Manager with NSW Department of Primary Industries, organisers of the Forum.
‘Recreational fishers assessed the Forum as a major success and plans are now underway by many fishers to fix some fish habitat in their local area over the coming year.’
President of the NSW Recreational Fishing Alliance, Malcolm Poole said recreational fishers at all levels were inspired by speakers at the Forum who explained what fishers could and should be doing to create more fish naturally for the future.
Ecofishers President, Ken Thurlow said the Forum was ‘a superb opportunity to network with recreational fishers from around NSW and discuss the key role of fish habitat in supporting our fisheries.’
President of the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers, Rodney Tonkin said a highlight was Dr Martin O’Grady’s presentations on issues affecting fish habitat in Ireland and how these were being addressed.
As well as being a mad keen fisher himself, Dr O’Grady challenged fishers to seriously look at habitat repair as a cost-effective way of improving fish numbers.
Mr Copeland said the Forum included several site visits, as well as the presentations from senior scientists and managers on the key importance of habitat in supporting fish populations.
‘One of these visits was to the defunct Jewry Street weir in Tamworth itself,’ he said.
‘Participants also enjoyed a demonstration of long-stem tree planting, hearing about the fish habitat work being done by local landholders and by the children at Calrossy School.’
Malcolm Poole said the Recreational Fishing Alliance thoroughly recommends all anglers get involved and take time out to attend next year’s Forum.
‘In the mean time, why not check out the Fish Habitat Network website for more info right now,’ he said.
This was the third Annual Fishers for Fish Habitat Forum and was organised using funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.