Donate your fish skeletons to science for the chance to win a fishing trip of a lifetime to the sensational Montebello Islands

Recfishers who donate their dhuie, pinkie, baldie, King George, herring and tailor frames to science for stock assessments will be in the running to win a fishing trip of a lifetime to the magnificent Montebello Islands, as well as some cool rod/reel combos donated by Recfishwest.

The Montebello Island Safaris crew love getting fishers among some ripper coral trout.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development fisheries scientists are now collecting fish samples for their next stock assessment of West Coast demersal scalefish in order to gauge how well the fishery’s ongoing recovery is progressing.

As an added incentive, anyone donating their frames will go into a draw for the grand annual prize of a fantastic charter trip to the Montebello Islands donated by charter-operator Montebello Island Safaris as part of DPIRD’s Send Us Your Skeletons campaign.

There will also be quarterly rod and reel combo draw prizes, including four impressive Daiwa Revros MX 4000 reels and Crewsaver lifejackets, which Recfishwest, as a supporter of the Send us Your Skeletons program, has donated.

Demersal species from the West Coast are not the only fish skeletons in demand, with researchers also wanting herring, tailor and King George whiting frames from the West Coast and South Coast bioregions.

Donating your West Coast demersal scalefish frames – the bigger picture

DPIRD are chasing dhufish frames for the Send Us Your Skeletons campaign.

“Good data underpins good science which supports good fishery management,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

“As stewards of the resource, recfishers have a critical role to play in supporting this important citizen science project, to ensure the department has a solid sample base to enable them to better understand the status of our fish stocks.”

As we reported in December last year, DPIRD released a recovery research summary that showed there were some good signs in the recovery at the half-way mark with many more smaller dhuies being caught than in the last few years – showing recfishers’ good stewardship sticking to bag and size limits is paying off.

However, despite reports of plenty of catches of big dhuies and pinkies circulating regularly and appearing on social media, they do not appear to be showing up in any numbers in DPIRD’s research samples. The good news is the Department is now accepting the heads of large  demersals for sampling so recfishers  can keep frames and wings for the barbie and still help out.

“This showed while there are grounds for cautious optimism there is still a way to go and we need to keep doing what we’re doing to ensure the recovery stays on track,” Dr Rowland said. “A big part of that is to ensure that the Department’s scientists have good numbers of fish samples i.e. frames – on which to base their stock assessment.”

How to donate your frames/demersal heads

You can hand your fish frames/big demersal heads in at range of DPIRD regional offices and participating tackle stores – click here to see where you can drop your frames and/or dhufish/pink snapper heads off.

Fish frames provide researchers with solid data and insights into WA fish populations.

Frames or heads for big demersals can be donated fresh or frozen if you can’t immediately donate them the day the fish was caught. You will also need to provide:

  • your name, phone number and email address (so DPIRD can send you research feedback and put your name in prize draws);
  • the date of your capture; and
  • the location of your capture (for boat catches, the latitude/longitude or distance and bearing from port and the name of the port, for example 3nm west of Hillarys; for shore catches, the general location).

Information you provide about the location of your catch is confidential, so all your prized secret dhuie spots will be safe!

More information about DPIRD’s Send Us Your Skeletons initiative can be found here.

More about the Montes

The Montebello Islands are an archipelago of about 174 small islands off the Pilbara coast, based 20km north of Barrow Island.

Montebello is Italian for “beautiful mountain” – an apt description for the idyllic islands that emerge from the big blue to form stunning scenery and equally stunning fishing.

Given the islands’ remoteness, the Montebellos offer an extraordinary fishing experience for myriad species from reef fishing for Rankin cod and coral trout to gamefishing for marlin and sailfish.

So, donate your fish frames to Send Us Your Skeletons – why wouldn’t you want to try and win a free trip to the Montebellos as well as giving something back and doing your bit for future fish stocks?

The 2017-18 SUYS winner Ryan Satinover with a cracking Rankin cod at the Monetebellos.