Donating skeletons of blue morwong and bight redfish to fisheries research won Esperance angler Ben Strautins a six-night fishing trip to the Monte Bello Islands.
Ben claimed the grand prize for the 2014/15 Send Us Your Skeletons initiative by the Department of Fisheries.
It encourages local recreational fishers to donate fish skeletons to help with the monitoring and assessment of important fish resources in WA.
The vice-president of the Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club, he took his son-in-law with him on the trip with Montebello Island Safaris just nine days after being declared the winner.
Ben was one of almost 700 recreational fishers who donated over six thousand frames from nine species of fish caught off WA’s west and south coasts during 2014/15.
The program is continuing in 2015/16 and more skeletons and new donors are always needed.
Data collected through this project is crucial in the ongoing assessment of demersal and nearshore fish stocks on the west coast and south coast.
The success of the program shows recreational fishers and many businesses who work in recreational fishing take their stewardship of WA’s fish stocks seriously.
Many tackle shops, caravan parks, marine businesses, fishing clubs and retailers in Perth and regional areas volunteer as drop-off points for fish skeletons.
The Department is now calling on any fisher willing to donate Herring frames. Ideally, freeze a few in your freezer and bring in a bag at a time. Rec fishers should take responsibility for their resource and help ensure the sustainability of the fishery.
To find out more about the Send Us Your Skeletons project, go to www.fish.wa.gov.au/frames.