My name is Shane Lowery and I’m the President of OzFish Unlimited South West Vic chapter.
I’ve lived in South West Victoria my whole life and have owned and operated a painting contracting business for the last 30 years. I don’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have a connection to the water.
Diving and fishing have been my passions in life since my dad first put a snorkel on me and threw me into the ocean at the age of 5.
Fishing has always been my number one love, particularly fishing in our local rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas.
There was no single moment or specific issue that prompted me to become more pro-active in general waterway health. It was more a growing realization, over a long period of time that made me realise our waterways needed a greater level of care if we wanted to have healthy waterways to fish in the future.
Some examples of the issues I was seeing was the lack of instream habitat and the effects of altered flows impacting river health over the long term.
However, the biggest problem for me was just the fact that I was just a ‘recreational angler’ with no background or experience in waterways or fisheries management. I had no idea where to begin until I heard about OzFish and started up my own local chapter.
OzFish has given me the opportunity to give back to the pastime I love. It has provided me with a practical pathway to get up and out the door, get my boots on, roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty to work towards improving waterway health and do something for the community.
On top of all this, it’s just a great way to meet like-minded people who want to make South West Victoria’s waters better for future generations.
The South West Vic Chapter has been part of some fantastic projects, such as extensive replanting of native species in riparian zones, habitat mapping and re-snagging of rivers, water quality testing and E-DNA to help assess health and populations of individual fish species.
OzFish Unlimited has a rapidly growing base of chapters rolling out across Australia creating a network of rec fishers with the opportunity to identify, discuss, and mitigate issues in individual areas. It’s activation at the grassroots and where we can make things happen. Plus, we get to tap into scientists and expert knowledge-base and resources to make a real difference.
Think nationally and act locally because better habitat means more fish is an ethos I’m proud to support and be a part of.