27 October 2015
it was great to catch up with you and the many other passionate fisho’s at the ASFB conference. The opportunity to see what work is being conducted in fisheries science and fisheries in general is a valuable contribution to the knowledge gathering we all conduct throughout our careers. I was particularly interested in seeing the great investments that were being made in freshwater habitat rehabilitation and fish passage in NSW and Victoria. Flowing from these investments were a number of fantastic research programs that are really progressing freshwater fisheries science in Australia.
Unfortunately this only went on to highlight the parlous state of fish habitat improvement and fisheries science in Queensland. No offense to the few people who are doing good stuff in fisheries like James Donaldson, Michael Hutchison and yourself, but the complete lack of investment in freshwater fisheries (other than stocking) is criminal. Our fisheries continue to decline as their habitats get filled with sediment, covered in weeds or blocked by dams and very little is done about it. Sure there are some programs that have side benefits for fish (reef plan, WQIP’s, ROP’s) and there is the best fish passage legislation in the country in place, but mostly it is non-existent.
The institution of the angling licenses in NSW and Vic have greatly increased the funding to, and just as importantly the FOCUS on, fisheries, both by the community and government and is leading to much of the great work that is happening down there at present. I feel like we live in a backward hick redneck state where the majority whinge about how bad things are getting, but also don’t want the government to get their money. These people need to be shown the possibilities that exist with a sensible licence, administered for the benefit of the fisheries, that engages the community and helps them improve their fisheries. It’s about time they realised this is not the Queensland of the 60’s with endless schools of fish in pristine catchments and inshore reefs. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE QUEENSLAND, wake up and get on board because no one else is going to pay for it!!! When you make your contribution, then you will gain the power to force governments to care!
So interestingly for me it was not one great project (although there were plenty) that stirred me up at ASFB, it was the big picture that emerged from the funding of fisheries throughout Australia, with the license “haves” fairing much better than the “have nots”. It seems pretty obvious that if you get several hundred thousand people paying money directly to the government, it hones the governments focus on fisheries greatly, giving them at least some care factor!! The changes that this makes can be quite significant.
Tim Marsden Australasian Fish Passage Services 27 Beachside Place, Shoal Point QLD 4750
P: +617 4954 8636
M: +61419 724 462 E: [email protected]
Editor’s note: Thanks for your considered opinion Tim. I have to agree with you Queensland could be bolstered for fish and fisheries regional staffing in a number of places. I am happy to apply for a job if you can find me one