OzFish brings together recreational and commercial fishers to improve local fish habitat

Local Richmond River members of Australia’s fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited have been gifted a state-of-the-art water quality monitoring device from the local commercial mullet haul team which will ensure any changes in water and environment will be identified quickly.

The equipment was purchased by the Ballina commercial fishers using funds raised through sales of their annual mullet haul. The team of pro-fishers working through the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op gifted the device to the local OzFish Chapter to boost their efforts in fish habitat restoration projects within the Richmond River and improve the river’s health and fisheries.

The water quality meter will provide real-time feedback on dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, pH and a number of other statistics pertinent to water health and their respective changes over time. This information provides an understanding on how best to manage these conditions.

This new device will enable OzFish members to respond more quickly and effectively to alerts from pro-fishers or members of the public on water quality concerns in the catchment.

OzFish Richmond President John Larsson said, “We have always had a great working relationship with this pro fisher team and share common goals for the health of the Richmond fishery.”

Each year, the commercial fishers take part in a sustainable harvest of the Richmond mullet estuary migration run and the health of the catchment is of great importance to them.

Projects funded by this group of Pro Fishers in the past have included a fish passage ladder at Kyogle, alterations to weirs in the Casino area to allow better fish movement and funding of hardware for OzFish Sydney rock oyster research work still ongoing.

“Water quality monitoring is fundamental in the management of the health of our fishery and water resources.

“We can now record data at regular intervals over an extended period to assess current condition and patterns in order to understand and manage the influence of factors such as land use, heat and climate change.

“This new water quality instrument will enable OzFish to provide more accurate information back to local councils and our partners in a timely manner with greater accuracy and reliability,” said Mr Larsson.

Left to Right – GM of the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op Phil Hilliard, Secretary of OzFish Richmond Patrick Sloan, Mullet Haul Team’s Mario Puglisi

Brian Newlands, Team Leader and Skipper for the Mullet Haul group said, “Being able to team up with OzFish in monitoring water quality issues opens a few more doors for us. The Richmond certainly has its fair share of water quality issues and we look forward to a team effort with OzFish.”