Recreational fisher education project

More habitat ... more fish: A strategy for educating recreational fishers about habitat

Recreational fishers enjoy being outdoors, relaxing and catching fish. All of this relies on there being healthy fish habitats supporting sustainable fish populations. Fish habitat in New South Wales is not a patch on what it once was so by actively rehabilitating riverbanks, seagrass beds and structure, for example, we help ensure healthy and diverse populations of native fish into the future.

Ideally, recreational fishers would be major participants in fish habitat rehabilitation. Indeed, there are fishers who are out there getting rid of weeds, replanting riverbanks, organising carp musters and otherwise getting their hands dirty to improve their local fish habitats. But these fishers are a minority. Most fishers are not. Recreational fishers are, therefore, a key audience for fish habitat messages.

The Recreational Fishers’ Education Strategy (RFE) project arose out of concern that the message about fish habitat was not being communicated effectively, despite many years’ work with local communities on fish habitat rehabilitation projects and providing information about fish habitat issues. The RFE project is a pilot, located within the Northern Rivers region of NSW. This region is a well regarded fishing area and includes marine, estuarine and freshwater fishing.

The project had four parts. The first was primary data collection from recreational fishers in Northern Rivers:

  • face-to-face surveys – 40 fishers, 20 at both a freshwater and a saltwater site
  • telephone survey – 500 responses from a targeted telephone survey.
  • focus groups – 3 groups across the region with a total of eleven participants.

The second thing we did was to look at other surveys and studies of recreational fishers. The third part of the project involved working with an Advisory Group made up of six recreational fishers.

The fourth aspect of the project was the development of the document called More habitat … more fish: A strategy for educating recreational fishers about fish habitat.

The Recreational Fishers’ Education Strategy project was a partnership between Industry and Investment NSW (I&I NSW) and Southern Cross University (SCU) and funded by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.

You can download the strategy or any of the sample resources, including fish habitat factsheets and posters. There are links below for a simple Tips for working with recreational fishers and a Fish Habitat Basics factsheet. You can use these resources freely for educational purposes. Copyright is held by I&I NSW. If you want to include any of these resources in a publication of any sort you need to get permission to do so from I&I NSW.

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