Onslow fishing community gets hooked on Fishing for Science

Recfishwest recently had the pleasure to attend the 2022 Munro’s MACK10K competition in Onslow to run our Fishing for Science program – and the mackies came thick and fast for our sampling table!

The annual competition, hosted by the Ashburton Anglers Fishing Club, pulls in hundreds of passionate fishers from across the state, with impressive prizes on offer across more than a dozen challenge categories.

The 2022 Munro’s MACK10K fishing competition had generous prizes on offer! Make sure you check out the Ashburton Anglers Facebook Page for more details on this great annual event.

Working in collaboration with Paul Lewis from DPIRD, our Recfishwest staff were directly involved in gathering data from Spanish mackerel brought into the weigh-in station from 233 competitors across 69 boats.

Thanks to the contribution of the friendly local anglers, our Fishing for Science program collected data from more than 60 mackerel. This included their weight, length, condition, sex and maturity stage.

CHECK OUT OUR FISHING FOR SCIENCE PAGE HERE

Not only did our Recfishwest Operations Officer Sam Russell also take belly samples from each fish for future research, but he was also elected as “resident fish filleter” for the competition! Sam sliced and diced his way through plenty of mackerel for several hours straight each night, before handing fillets out to grateful members of the community from anglers kindly donating their impressive catches.

In addition, Paul from DPIRD  took the otoliths from the 61 sampled fish donated by the competitors to determine their age, with the finalised data to be used in conjunction with commercial catch data to provide clear assessments of the Spanish mackerel stock in the Pilbara Management Area – so a win-win for the local community, DPIRD and the future of these spectacular pelagic powerhouses.

Recfishwest’s Sam Russell and DPIRD’s Paul Lewis (pictured) received a great response for the fish sampling activities for the Fishing for Science program, taking samples from more than 60 fish.

“Thanks to the fantastic response and keen interest of the Onslow fishing community who are just as passionate as we are about fish sustainability and research, Fishing for Science is a great way for fishers to learn more about the fish they love to catch while contributing toward the collection of data that will benefit the fishery in the future,” said Recfishwest Operations Officer Sam Russell.

“We need to say a huge thanks to Paul from DPIRD for his tireless sampling efforts and the crew at Ashburton Anglers for their hospitality during this great annual competition. Having a yarn with the locals and participants shows how much they care about the fish being caught.”

Congratulations to all 15 category winners from the Munro’s MACK10K competition and watch this space for future Fishing for Science initiatives.

Dampier community fishes for fun and for science!

We had a fantastic response to our Fishing for Science fish sampling table and fishing clinic in Dampier coinciding with King Bay Game Fishing Club’s recent Dampier classic.

The great response to these activities and the dozens of boats in the competition shows just how important fishing for regional communities continues to be.

Wahoo, Spanish mackerel, queenfish, longtail tuna, barracuda and golden trevally – these were just some of the species local anglers landed throughout our five-day visit to the northern coastal fishing jewel.

Our Sunsmart Fishing Clinic saw more than 40 eager kids wet a line off the shore, with plenty of great catches of species such as bluebone and stripey snapper providing great memories and snaps for the next generation of anglers.

We had a great time showing future generations how to safely catch, handle and release fish!

Following the Sunsmart Fishing Clinics in the mornings, the icing on the cake for our Recfishwest team was the many fish given to us to sample for our Fishing for Science Program at the end of each day’s weigh-in from 67 competitors wetting a line from 21 vessels.

Fishing for Science is a community engagement program that enables local communities to better understand scientifically the fish species that underpin prized fishing experiences.

READ MORE ABOUT OUR FISHING FOR SCIENCE PROGRAM HERE

In total, more than 50 fish across 15 different species were brought to the sampling table, for measuring, sexing and having belly tissue samples taken to freeze for future scientific studies and monitoring of our fish stocks.

Other data gathered for our Fishing for Science program across the competition included the weight, condition, sex, parasites and maturity stage of each fish, providing useful knowledge for locals while allowing them to give back in protecting our fisheries.

Sam Russell and Danielle Hartshorn always had a great bunch of kids eager to see the fish gender reveals!

Operations Officer Sam Russell said both the fishing clinics and positive engagement with the competition participants provided invaluable information on the importance of these special ocean habitats to our northern communities.

“A big thanks to the Dampier fishing communities, King Bay Game Fishing Club and Sunsmart for allowing us to run these clinics and engage with hundreds of Dampier and Karratha locals again this year – and a big thanks to our Fishing for Science partners Woodside Energy for supporting this great community program”