Investing in what we hold dear

Contrary to the view of some environmentalists, anglers are a caring lot. A recent study reveals we spent more than $33 million in the last two decades on environmental initiatives.

Contrary to the view of some environmentalists, anglers are a caring lot. A recent study reveals we spent more than $33 million in the last two decades on environmental initiatives.

The study, Angling for Conservation, was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

"This is the first time anyone has tried to develop an understanding of the role that recreational fishers play in looking after Australia's aquatic resources. And the results have been really interesting," the leader of the study, Matt Barwick, said.

Angling for Conservation revealed Australia's recreational fishing community plays an increasingly important role in caring for our fish stocks, rivers, estuaries and oceans.

The study found the community invested about $33.1 million in projects focusing on conservation or sustainability. Most of the investment occurred in the last decade and it's increasing each year.

Initiatives to improve habitat were the most common projects funded by recreational fishers, with 18 per cent involving revegetation of river banks and foreshores, 17 per cent involving improvement of fish passage, and 14 per cent involving bank stabilisation works to reduce erosion.

But in terms of total investment, recreational fishers spent most of their money ($9.47 million) on research to ensure our fisheries remained sustainable. The world-class NSW Game Fish Tagging

Program is a prime example.

A new national fish habitat rehabilitation strategy is being formulated. Also, with healthier waterways and better water quality, survival rates of fish larvae can only improve. More information is available at anglingforconservation.org.

Meanwhile, the fishing has improved for the long weekend and last week of school holidays. Warmer water is pushing south and our estuaries are starting to fire.

Offshore, snapper are snapping with some solid fish from the central coast to south coast reefs. Try the 40-metre mark and fish floating pilchards in a berley trail.

Kingfish are on the deep reefs, flathead are on the drifts, with morwong and even a few pearl perch off the central coast. The only snag is the line-snipping leatherjackets.

Trevally are holding around the headlands, with Aussie salmon schooling behind the beaches and around the bay mouths. Beach fishers have found whiting, but tailor are more common at night.

Everyone's excited by the news of kingfish in our estuaries. Anglers are also starting to land a few flathead that have woken from their winter slumber.

Hawkesbury guide Ron Osman says Broken Bay is good for trevally and salmon. Pittwater has kingfish, while luderick are upstream around Brooklyn.

Harbour highlights centre on the kingfish and flathead, with the latter coming from Botany Bay and Port Hacking as well.