Fisherman join innovative program to boost fish stocks

By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE Sport Fishing Club has been quietly working away on an important national project to save fish stocks for future generations.

The club has already tagged and released 22,000 fish from Baffle Creek to Yellow Patch on Curtis Island, testing a range of different release methods.

Data on survival rates will then be collated to find which release methods ensure the best chance of survival.

Released Fish Survival program manager Bill Sawynok said in the year 2000, 108 million fish were caught by recreational anglers ? 47 million of those were released.

'As you can see there's a huge number of fish released, so if we can tweak up people's release practices it will be of great benefit to fish stocks,' he said.

'If we find one method works better than others then we will promote it to people later on.'

Three release methods are being trialled.

Some of the fish will be simply tagged and released, while others will undergo some minor at sea surgery.

'When some fish come up from depths gas in their swim bladder expands, and that can push it out the fish's mouth,' Mr Sawynok said.

'They'll push a hypodermic needle into the swim bladder to allow it to escape, and then release the fish.

'Others will be released on shot lines.That's where we use a weight and a barbless hook through the lip and lower it to the bottom. As it goes down the gasses decompress and it's metabolism returns to normal.'

Mr Sawynok said a number of different research groups and recreational anglers were involved in the joint industry and government funded project.



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