The initiative to take DNA samples from tagged sailfish gathered momentum at the recent Broome Billfish Classic.
Renowned marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell flew to be Broome at the invitation of the Broome Fishing Club to be part of the popular annual event, and also then travelled on to Dampier for the subsequent Dampier Classic.
Tagging and releasing billfish has long been a part of both popular competitions, but this year Dr Pepperell showed participants how to use DNA testing kits to gain valuable scientific data on sailfish and marlin.
Dr Pepperell, based in Queensland, is the man behind the initiative, which is in its second year and sees anglers take a small clip off the dorsal fin of captured fish before releasing them. It is a great way to get more insight into billfish populations, and particularly sailfish.
The DNA data will help shed new light on billfish habits, including fish movements and breeding. This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the WA Department of Fisheries.
Dr Pepperell plans to also show off the new sampling system at future game fishing tournaments around WA. There has already been a dramatic rise in recaptures of tagged sailfish off Broome this year and hopefully, the DNA sampling will help gather further information on this iconic recreational fishing species.
Conservation and Community Benefit in Roebuck Bay
Recfishwest today said the release of the new Roebuck Bay Marine Park Indicative Management Plan provides a win for both conservation and the community, especially as it celebrates the role recreational fishing plays in the Kimberley.
Recfishwest CEO, Dr Andrew Rowland said the new marine park demonstrates that recreational fishing is compatible with marine conservation.
“We are pleased to see management activities focused on conserving the values that underpin good quality fishing experiences and where shared access can be enjoyed by all,” Dr Rowland said.
“We’ve already seen important conservation activities in the Kimberley, namely the stocking of the iconic Barramundi, where recreational fishers are giving back to help maintain a sustainable fishery.”
The new management plan is also important in fulfilling the cultural aspirations of the Yawuru people who will play a significant role in the planned joint management arrangements of this park.
“This type of management will bring the community closer together as it provides opportunities to share cultures around fishing.”
The management arrangements in this marine park complement the government’s 2013 decision to purchase all of Roebuck Bay’s commercial netting licences under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.
Broome Fishing Club President Derek Albert said fishing in Roebuck Bay has never been better.
“The Bay is a world class fishing location, providing fantastic opportunities for safe and enjoyable fishing experiences for the whole community” Mr Albert said.
To read Environment Minister Albert Jacob’s Media Statement, click here.