Craig Copeland, OzFish’s Founder and CEO, recently took part in a global environmental event Take 3 from the Sea and has called on the recreational fishing community to continue cleaning their waterways.
With its headquarters based in Ballina, OzFish is the leading fishing conservation organisation in Australia, getting recreational fishers actively involved in habitat restoration and conservation initiatives.
Plastic pollution and litter is one of the biggest threats to our waterways.
Over 8 million tonnes of new plastic enter the ocean each year, and by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is an issue that OzFish takes very seriously.
For the first time, the Take 3 CEO Clean-Up ran as a virtual event open to CEO’s worldwide who want to make a difference by cleaning up their local communities and raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem.
Last Saturday, Craig took to Richmond River to collect marine debris along North Creek, Ballina. This also tied in with OzFish’s local work repairing saltmarsh under the Saving our Saltmarsh project.
Craig, along with the help of local volunteers collected over 40kgs of rubbish, which included plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic food wrap, fishing reel, golf balls, glass bottles, barrel, ag-pipe, rope and net scraps, clothing, aluminium cans and tyres.
“It was different scenery than the office chair, and it was good to get back to the roots of why OzFish began, working locally on our rivers”, said Craig.
The weather held off for us for the event, it was not raining but sure was windy. We had a nice paddle out to the saltmarsh with the tide coming in, but on the way back was a different story. The wind picked up and we were paddling against the incoming tide in a tidal river”.
“Participating was a no brainer for me. I love the Richmond River and am excited about the prospect of making it just that little bit better”, said Craig.
Saltmarsh can be a place where a lot of floatsam and jetsam ends up settling when the tide returns to the estuary.
This can cause damage to the precious habitats that most of our favourite fish, prawns and crabs rely on.
OzFish’s Saving our Saltmarsh project, is in partnership with Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council and Ballina Shire Council. The program is being funded by the NSW Government through a partnership between the Saving Our Species program and the Environmental Trust.