Recfishwest and OzFish Unlimited join forces to protect WA’s Fish Habitats

When you’re drifting down your favourite river in the dinghy and see that perfect snag, you know there are going to be big bream in there…but do you ever wonder why?

Recfishwest has the support of new fishing conservation organisation, OzFish Unlimited, to help WA fishers fight the biggest threat to our most precious resource – fish habitat loss.

The partnership, funded by the Fishing Research and Development Corporation, will give WA fishers and communities more control over the health of their local rivers, lakes and estuaries through rehabilitation and regeneration activities.

Recfishwest’s Habitat Officer Michael Tropiano said the alliance will help WA’s proud recreational fishing community protect and restore fish habitat by understanding how critical it is for the future of our sport.

“We know that fish use a range of habitats in our estuaries and rivers so if we want more fish, it is really simple, all we have to do is improve the quality, quantity and connectivity of these habitats,” says Recfishwest’s Habitat Officer, Michael Tropiano.

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In Western Australia fish have lost their favourite habitats through years of degradation. In just under 200 years since Europeans settled in Perth, the Swan River has lost 70% of its wetlands, 1/3 of its seagrass and oyster reefs are now considered to be functionally extinct in the south west of the state. This habitat degradation and loss has serious implications for ecosystem health and for recreational fishing.

All these habitats play important roles in making estuaries one of our most productive ecosystems and provide nursery and feeding grounds for many recreationally targeted species including Black bream, Blue Manna Crabs and King George Whiting, which in turn provide safe, accessible and enjoyable fishing opportunities for Western Australians.

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Healthy habitats are crucial for healthy fish communities. Throughout the different stages in a fish’s lifecycle it requires a range of different habitats. The greater the range of these habitats and the healthier their condition, the more fish will be able to survive from juvenile to maturity and contribute to the next generation.

We need your help and by getting involved in habitat restoration activities, you can contribute to a better fishing future. You can make a difference!

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Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to get involved in fish habitat enhancement and restoration…and take a look at our partner in fishing conservation at www.ozfish.org.au and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OzFishUnlimited/