OzFish are partnering with Charles Sturt University, recreational fishers, and First Nations people to better understand how to design and implement basin-wide scientific programs with citizen scientists to address the gaps.

OzFish Unlimited volunteers will be undertaking recreational fishing within set fishing boundaries and set times to capture data from aquatic species in the Murray Darling Basin.

The project involves measuring each aquatic species caught and determining if that species has been tagged. If it has been previously tagged, data will be collected. If not, trained volunteers will undertake an intricate process to place a specialised tag into the aquatic species. All individuals involved will have received training to ensure all aquatic species are treated with care and in the approved manner. 

Fish tagging programs are a vital part of any fishery manager’s tools for assessing fish populations. Conducted properly, tagging can yield a wealth of information about movement patterns, habitat utilization and population structure.

The long-term goal is to find a role for citizen scientists and river rangers in fish tagging programs across the Murray-Darling Basin, integrated into government initiatives as trained and trusted partners. 

Community science is a rapidly expanding field where millions of participants each year gather data on hundreds of topics ranging from the weather to water quality, threatened and endangered species, and such far off topics as water bugs and environmental DNA.

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This project has been funded by the Australian government OneBasin CRC program and the Next Generation Water Engineering and River Management Hub , the NSW recreational fishing trusts and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing with support from Charles Sturt University, recreational fishers, and First Nations groups.