New fishing group aims to improve quality of Richmond River

AT LAST the average angler has an organisation that can help slow and then reverse the awful decline in the health of the Richmond River.

Summerland Credit Union has given a $1200 kickstart to the Richmond River chapter of the new national organisation OzFish Unlimited, a group committed to the protection and restoration of waterways and fish habitat.

The donation is part of the fees from the credit union's Eco Loans.

OzFish Unlimited is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping rec fishers take control of the health of their rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Based on the acclaimed US group Trout Unlimited, OzFish Unlimited partners with fishers and the community to invest time and money into the protection and restoration of waterways, counteracting decades of degradation.

"Oz Fish is delighted to supplement our funding for a riparian remediation project on River Drive, South Ballina," OzFish Unlimited Richmond River chair John Larsson said.

"The eco donation from Summerland means we can do much more bank restoration than we had initially planned."

The local chapter's charter for the Richmond River is to reverse the decline of fish stocks and marine life on the Richmond and to improve water quality to allow re-establishment of a commercial oyster industry.

OzFish Unlimited works to make local fishing grounds healthy and more productive by sharing ideas on how to improve, restore and protect fish habitat; by securing financial grants and support for hands-on habitat restoration and by providing events, resources, education and research to achieve local results.

Celebrity anglers Steve Starling and Michael Guest are OzFish Unlimited ambassadors, with support from scores of other high-profile fishos including Alastair McGlashan and Lee Rayner.

The next meeting of the Richmond River chapter will be at 5pm on Tuesday, April 19, in the meeting room at the Lakeside Caravan Park, East Ballina (next to reception). Everyone interested in reversing the decline of the Richmond River is welcome.

For more information email ozfish.rich.chap@gmail.com and to view the national website at www.ozfish.org.au.

Marvellous mahi mahi

ACOUSTIC tagging of mahi mahi has revealed some amazing feats by these oceanic acrobats.

As well as being one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean (they can grow 25mm a week and put on a kilo a month), they can certainly get around in a hurry.

DPI Fisheries reports that one tagged mahi mahi was first recorded at the Ballina FAD and a month later was recorded on the Port Macquarie FAD. Six days later, it turned up at the Terrigal FAD, swimming at least 550km in five weeks.

Another was tagged at the Port Macquarie FAD and swam 30km to the Laurieton FAD in under two hours.

On the subject of tags, are the bull sharks with the receiver tags that are turning up so frequently lately the sharks that were tagged off Ballina last spring or those that were tagged off Townsville last year that followed the mackerel south to spawn?



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