Being a young fisho just got a whole new meaning, with a program of OzFish activities designed for kids to do their part for Australian fishing’s future.
It’s said that the behaviours we learn as children often become lifelong habits. The experiences we have in our youth also help to shape us as we grow into adulthood.
As recreational fishers, we certainly know that to be true. Some of our earliest memories will be of receiving our first rod, making the initial trip to our local creek, and learning how to tie the perfect knot.
Fishing is a sport where knowledge, experiences, and gear are passed down from generation to generation. It’s an Aussie rite of passage.
We all want to make sure that future generations can continue to enjoy the sport we love, and OzFish is committed to creating a legacy of healthy habitats across Australia. By restoring these environments and encouraging sustainable fishing practices, we are leaving something tangible and beneficial behind for those making the trip to the riverbank in years to come.
That’s why we have launched our innovative Junior OzFishers program – the coolest club on Aussie waterways.
Aimed at children between 4 and 14 years old, Junior OzFishers is exclusively for OzFish members. The program will give youngsters the opportunity to restore healthy habitat, adopt sustainable fishing practices, and support native fish and the future of recreational fishing.
They will gain the knowledge, skills, and experience required at an early age so that the positive behaviors become habits they carry throughout adulthood.
It features 10 challenges designed to engage, entertain, and educate our young waterway stewards. As a reward for completing each challenge, Junior OzFishers will receive a dedicated badge to show off their achievement and keep track of how many challenges they’ve completed.
Those badges each feature an iconic native Aussie fish, including bass, yellowbelly, and Murray cod. Perfect for showing off on a hat, favourite gear bag, or a pinboard on a bedroom wall.
Cassie Price, OzFish Director of Habitat Programs and a mum of two, explains why the introduction of Junior OzFishers is the next logical step for our work across the country.
“Since launching in 2015, OzFish has had the clear goal of creating better habitat for better fishing. We’ve mobilised the Australian recreational fishing community, with the support of our major partner BCF, to give back to our waterways. It’s something we are proud to have seen happening on an ever-growing scale,” said Cassie.
“Junior OzFishers is the next step, ensuring the latest generation of recreational fishers do their part for a sustainable and long-term future for recreational fishing.
“We already have many children and young people engaged in our projects through our family and junior memberships. However, we realised we didn’t have anything dedicated to engaging our young members. This program is designed specifically for them and we hope will encourage even greater numbers to get involved.
“The badges have been carefully designed to be lasting. You can wear them as a pin, and they are intended to continue to inspire and remind Junior OzFishers throughout their lifetime.”
Each of the 10 challenges sets Junior OzFishers a task linked to habitat restoration, engagement, and good fishing behaviours. This includes recycling, catching pest species, inventing a new fish ‘hotel’, writing about fishing experiences, catch and release best practice, and more.
Junior OzFishers has its very own mascot – Ozzie. A special Ozzie badge is already on its way to existing junior and family OzFish members to welcome them to the club. New members, within the 4-14 years old age bracket will also receive their Ozzie badge upon joining and can get started straight away on the challenges.
“This is the perfect self-guided school holiday activity for you to do as a family – keeping the kids entertained, outdoors, and learning about our native fish and their environment,” stated Cassie.