Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue and Geoff Collins from Ozfish Photo: Cameron Laird
Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue and Geoff Collins from Ozfish Photo: Cameron Laird

New partnership tackling rubbish in our waterways

Fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited has partnered with Tangaroa Blue Foundation to help recreational fishers tackle rubbish in their 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end up in fish bellies, OzFish and Tangaroa Blue are finding innovative ways to create lasting change and turn around outdated practices of past generations.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,” Ms Price said.

“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“We’re becoming more aware of what are now some outdated fishing behaviours, so we are seeing real change.”

She said recreational fishers were some of the most passionate people when it comes to caring for their waterways.

Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue and Geoff Collins from Ozfish Photo: Cameron Laird
Brett Tait from Tangaroa Blue and Geoff Collins from Ozfish Photo: Cameron Laird

“They see first-hand the impact that litter has on their own fishing experiences, whether that’s in our oceans, estuaries or inland rivers,” she said.

“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.”

Tangaroa Blue Foundation CEO Heidi Tait said the marine debris organisation was excited to join forces with OzFish.

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“Combating marine litter is a complex issue with a wide variety of sources contributing to the levels of plastic in our oceans,” Ms Tait said.

“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,” Ms Tait said.

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.



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