Dr. Geoff Collins from fishing conservation charity OzFish and Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue.

Recreational fishers act to tackle litter issue in local waterways

Australia’s leading fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited has partnered with Tangaroa Blue Foundation to help recreational fishers tackle rubbish in their local waterways.

From flotsam collecting in saltmarshes to riverbank dumping, from forgotten tackle to microplastics that end up in fish bellies, OzFish and Tangaroa Blue are finding innovative ways to create lasting change and turn around outdated practices of past generations.

OzFish Director of Habitat Programs Cassie Price said the new partnership and education program, ReefClean Look after your Tackle, reinforces the changing perception of recreational fishers in Australia and their motivation to be part of the solution.

“Actions that make fishing more sustainable remain an ongoing challenge and key area of focus for the Australian recreational fishing industry.

“Many fishers are knowledgeable of the problem and practice responsible fishing, including taking their litter with them and catch and release best practice. We’re becoming more aware of what are now some outdated fishing behaviours, so we are seeing real change,” says Ms. Price.

“Recreational fishers are some of the most passionate people when it comes to caring for our waterways. They see firsthand the impact that litter has on their own fishing experiences, whether that’s in our oceans, estuaries, or inland rivers.

“Litter can have lasting impacts on the natural environments we fish in, reduces fish numbers, and even makes some fishing spots difficult to access and certainly less enjoyable.

“We are thrilled to be working with Tangaroa Blue on such a critical issue. While there have been some small improvements, we know there is more work to do and as an industry, we need to step up and take action. That is exactly what we are trying to do – and we know that education is key.

“With the expertise of Tangaroa Blue in this issue, we know we can make a real difference.” Price says.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation CEO Heidi Tait says the marine debris organisation is excited to be joining forces with OzFish to tackle the issue of fishing litter.

“Combating marine litter is a complex issue with a wide variety of sources contributing to the levels of plastic in our oceans. But collaborations like this one offers fishers a simple and effective solution to improve the long-term health of our marine environment through both the removal and prevention of marine litter.

As part of the partnership the organisations will:

● Launch the #Know Your Knots Challenge, which encourages fishers to tie knots successfully to reduce the amount of tackle lost and left behind.
● Start a Rig Recycle program enabling fishers to recycle their old fishing gear at BCF Stores across the country. It will also see additional fishing line bins made available at popular fishing sites.

The two groups will lend their support to Clean Up Australia Day 2021 events on March 7. Data collected on the day will contribute to the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Database which is used by researchers to determine the best way to combat marine litter. OzFish will also use the information collected to investigate new solutions fishers can use to reduce fishing litter entering local waterways.

“We are determined to combat the growing issue of litter in our waterways and by working together we will have a greater impact,” says Tait.

To learn more about the partnership and how you can get involved with OzFish and Tangaroa Blue go to www.ozfish.org.au or call 1800 431 308.


Photos: Dr. Geoff Collins from fishing conservation charity OzFish and Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue.

Interviews available.

Renee Ferenc | Director of Engagement and Culture – OzFish Unlimited
reneeferenc@ozfish.org.au 0402 019 193

Heidi Tait | CEO Tangaroa Blue Foundation
heidi@tangaroablue.org 0410 166 684

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