Recfishwest’s world first marine citizen science program “Reef Vision” is a research project that uses recreational fishers to collect video footage of the fish and marine life on artificial reefs to assist in the monitoring and development of the reefs.
Earlier this month, Recfishwest and project partners celebrated the launch of Peel Reef Vision in Mandurah with an information and training workshop held at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC). Keen local volunteers have already dropped cameras on the Mandurah Artificial Reef giving us a greater understanding on how this reef is developing and learning what fish species are using the reefs.
Tackle World Miami are kindly providing bait and advice to volunteers, enabling them to collect this footage of the reefs using their new specialised baited underwater video cameras.
Recfishwest and Murdoch University are again partnering to deliver the Peel Reef Vision program providing an excellent level of academic rigour to the program. Murdoch are also managing our 2019 Southwest Reef Vision program that monitors the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs.
Peel Reef Vision volunteers have already recorded a range of species that use the reef including pink snapper, skippy, john dory, flathead, whiting and an octopus!
This new addition to the Reef Vision program compliments the existing community monitoring programs currently underway on artificial reefs deployed in Esperance, Exmouth, Dunsborough and Bunbury.
We would like to give a special thanks to the MOFSC for hosting the Reef Vision information eveningt. The club have been an invaluable part of the deployment of the Mandurah artificial reef, and now with monitoring the reef’s development.
Peel Reef Vision is funded by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Recfishwest.
For 20 years now, Recfishwest in partnership with Healthway, promoting the SunSmart message, has delivered fishing clinics to kids and community groups across WA.
The success of our fishing clinics is due in most part to our dedicated and passionate volunteer clinic instructors, many of whom have been part of the Recfishwest team from the beginning. They generously share their expertise, knowledge and experience with WA’s next generation of fishers.
Everyone participating in our fishing clinics and other community events is taught information on the roles and responsibilities of Recfishwest and the need to adopt more appropriate SunSmart behaviour. The clinics address many aspects of fishing including basic fishing skills, the use of appropriate equipment, the reasons behind fishing rules, correct fish handling techniques, catch care and fishing safety.
‘Me No Fry’ – ‘Addicted to Fishing’, ‘Not Drugs – Fish for the Future’ – ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide, Seek’; are just some of the core messages associated with Recfishwest fishing clinics over the years and we have come a long way since 1998 when we first teamed up with Healthway to introduce youth and families all over WA to recreational fishing.
With this year marking the 20th year, we are proud to say we have conducted over 1100 clinics and almost 40,000 attendees have been introduced to recreational fishing.
That’s almost 5 clinics a month, every month for 20 years!!!
We are grateful to Healthway (SunSmart) for their ongoing support, as well to our other partners.
A quick look back at how the clinics have evolved over the years;
Nov 1998 Signed up for sponsorship with partner Healthway (Me-no-fry, for Cancer Council). Continued every year since then and progressed to ‘SunSmart’ as main message.
1999: Installation of sunscreen stations at boat ramps all over WA to increase awareness of being SunSmart.
2004 – 2008: Additional funding from the Federal Government under the Commonwealth Community Grants Scheme for Recfishwest’s ‘Addicted to Fishing Not Drugs’ initiative enhanced the Healthway fishing clinics program
2006Having already been Healthway awards finalist twice; in 2006 Recfishwest were recognised for “Sponsorship projects showing Innovation and Community Participation” and WON the national award for “Best project encouraging fishing participation by children and women”
2007 The fishing clinic program was selected as a finalist in the 2007 Community Services Industry Awards in the category 7 – Strengthening Rural and Remote Communities.
2008 Recfishwest was a finalist in the 2008 Recfish Australia Awards under the “Best Project Encouraging Participation of Women and Children in fishing”.
From 2006 onwards – a significant number of advance bookings through the coming partnership period and many schools booking multiple classes and utilising the clinics each year. In addition, many teachers have reported that they have heard about how successful the clinics are from teachers at other schools, indicating a high degree of positive word of mouth within the education system towards the program.
2007 – We held our first “Pink” Fly fishing Clinic in November 2007, an initiative which studies in the United States were shown to be highly beneficial for women recovering from breast cancer. This first session was a huge success and saw eleven ladies try their hand at fly fishing. Two subsequent “Pink” Fly fishing Clinics were held during 2008/2009 and annually sine. Then in 2014 became “Purple” Fly Fishing, to better align with the Breast Cancer Care WA colours.
2010 – 2014 – Recfishwest secured a partnership with Woodside Energy Ltd in early 2010 to meet the high travel costs of running clinics in the north-west. The Northern Community Fishing Clinics program was well received between the years 2010 to 2014. Recfishwest’s eye-catching fishing clinic trailer had a very distinguishable SunSmart theme and was exposed to thousands of people both through clinics and travelling between locations
2015 – New educational book developed in 2015 – ‘Become a Recfishwest Fisher Kid’ distributed to 1000 participants
2017 – Stretched budget to limit and had to approach new way of delivering clinics under a cost recovery scheme so as not to disappoint the increasing number of groups applying for clinic sessions
2018 – Welcomed Getaway Outdoors as a program sponsor. Less than two months into our 2018/2019 partnership period and the program is already fully allocated to clinic bookings until July 2019!!!
2019 – Welcomed Hooked Gear as a program partner in April.
We’re looking forward to another successful partnership year with Healthway from July 2019 to June 2020.
“Fishing is the lifeblood of our culture and giving kids and families access to fishing experiences is something we really value at Recfishwest. There would have been kids who we taught early in the fishing clinics program who are now having their own kids; and that’s where the legacy and knowledge is passed on.’’ Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.
‘’I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of Kim Burton, Craig Bibra, Ian Sewell, Alan Guthrie, Adam Vegvary, Paul Willis, Kevin Murphy, Bec Griffiths and Greg Harrison our passionate volunteer instructors who have dedicated their time to help grow the program and get families out fishing.’’Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Recfishwest fishing clinics explore our website to find the dates of upcoming events.
Recfishwest’s world first marine citizen science program ‘Reef Vision’ is set to launch in the Peel Region in October 2017. It’s only missing one thing – you! To kick off Peel Reef Vision we need passionate and committed fishers to help showcase the development and success of the Mandurah Artificial Reef and do their part for fishing and science.
The Peel Reef Vision Program will build on the two successful and ongoing Reef Vision monitoring programs on the Dunsborough and Bunbury Artificial Reefs.
The remarkable reefs bringing new life to our coastline. The artificial reefs are attracting fish in increasing numbers and in what's believed to be a world first, scientists are calling on the community to help monitor them.
Reef Vision is a research project that uses passionate fishers to collect vital and exciting footage of the fish and marine life on artificial reefs to assist in the monitoring and development of the reefs.
“To date, Reef Vision volunteers have collected over 400 hours of valuable footage from 212 videos of the Bunbury and Dunsborough reefs. These videos have revealed over 34,000 individual fish from 82 different species including Dhufish, Samson Fish, Baldchin Groper, Pink Snapper and large schools of Mulloway.”
What the volunteers actually do?
Reef Vision volunteers throw specialised baited underwater camera systems out from their boat and record an hour of video footage over the artificial reefs while they are fishing. This footage is later analysed by university researchers and students to see what fish are using the reefs.
“This was something that I could do to give back to the community, the more the community can do to help out, the better it is for us as fishers and for the future of our fisheries” Reef Vision volunteer Garry Dyer.
Recfishwest’s Research Officer James Florisson says these passionate volunteers are contributing to real science, in an effort to make fishing better in WA. They are the key to this programs success.
“It’s important for us to know what’s happening on these reefs, and it’s even more important that the volunteers are enjoying their time collecting the footage for us; they’re the backbone of Reef Vision and we can’t thank them enough,” James said.
How Do You Get Involved?
If you would like to be involved and participate in the new Peel Reef Vision Program or to find out more about the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reef Vision Supporters
Recfishwest would like to thank all of our project partners who have assisted with Reef Vision to date and who have offered support for the new Peel Reef Vision program.
The project is supported by the RFIF, DPIRD, FRDC and Ecotone Consulting who assisted in the development of Reef Vision in the South West.
Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) and Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club have dedicated the time and effort to not only assist with establishing Reef Vision in the Peel Region but who were also involved in the early stages, including site selection and deployment of the Mandurah Artificial Reef. MOFSC members will assist in monitoring for Peel Reef Vision.
Alcoa have thrown their support behind establishing Peel Reef Vision by providing camera equipment and technology, as well as staff who have assisted in trials for the project. Alcoa volunteer Chris Daou says he’s been fishing and monitoring the Bunbury and Dunsborough reefs since the beginning and he’s been amazed to see how they have developed.
“Having the opportunity to assist in trialing Reef Vision in the Peel Region has provided me with great insight into how science can be used to benefit the environment, fish and fishing,” Chris said.
Murdoch University and Curtin University are research partners with Reef Vision. Data collected on the reefs is analysed by university researchers and students.
Men Shed Forrestdale and First Marine have been getting involved in Artificial Reefs by lending their experience and knowledge to help make and improve equipment for Artificial Reef monitoring for the Reef Vision volunteers.
Dunsborough Outdoor Sportz and Whitey’s Tackle Australind kindly provided equipment and prizes which has enabled volunteers to collect footage of these reefs using the baited underwater cameras, both stores have been very supportive and important partners.
Most importantly, thank you to all the volunteers whose efforts and dedication to the cause are a major factor to the success of Reef Vision!