NSW Boat Ramp Signs – Targeting Recreational Fishers & Boaters
About the campaign
In May 2011 NSW DPI in collaboration with Local Government, funded the production of more than 200 aluminium signs to be constructed at local high use boat ramps across NSW. This state wide awareness campaign targets fishing and boating enthusiasts in NSW. It aims to reduce the risk of spreading water weeds from one water body to another and to increase their capacity to report new incursions.
Within NSW some recreational water users are unaware of water weeds and the threat they pose to the environmental, recreational and economic value of our water bodies. These groups have a strong capacity to aid in early detection of water weeds and assisting control authorities in locating new weed infestations in isolated hard to access areas.
How can water weeds affect fishers and boaters?
Heavy infestations of water weeds can;
- restrict watercraft navigation
- impede access to sites for fishers
- foul fishing gear
- make it difficult to land fish
- reduce sunlight penetration which can shade out native plants
- lower the temperature and oxygen content of water
- affect diversity and abundance of fish and other aquatic organisms due to reduced water quality
- reduce fish and bird habitat and access to water bodies for wildlife
- damage boat motors by blocking the water intakes
- reduce the area of open water available for swimming
Water weeds can spread by:
- hitchhiking on watercraft, trailers and equipment, such as fishing gear
- propellers and anchors can cut plants into fragments facilitating spread
“A single plant fragment can start a new infestation and some plants can survive considerable time out of water.”
Which weeds are considered a problem?See list of water weeds that have the potenial to do harm to the environment
How can fishers and boaters help?
The potential for the spread of water weeds from infested sites to non infested sites is increased by the large numbers of watercraft and fishers within NSW and visiting from interstate. Therefore increased knowledge of the problem and what can be done by fishers and boaters can contribute significantly to reducing the spread of water weeds and also aid in the early detection of new incursions. The awareness message was designed around encouraging the audience to follow some simple procedures to help in preventing the spread but also to aid in detection. These include;
- inspecting and removing any plant material from watercraft, trailers and all equipment before leaving a site or launching at a new site
- learning to recognise water weeds and being observant for new or unusual weeds
- avoiding infested water bodies and if in an infested area avoid running the engine through weed beds or anchoring up their
- reporting infestations to your local council weed officer or NSW DPI on 1800 680 244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
So look out for the sign at your local boat ramp!