Former OzFish Chapter President awarded OAM

Today, we are proud to congratulate Matt Hansen, OzFish member and former Board Director and Chapter President, who has been awarded an OAM and Dubbo Australia Day Citizen of the Year.

At OzFish, we love these awards because they recognise someone who has put their heart and soul into pursuing and achieving improvements to fish habitat and more sustainable fishing practices for over 15 years.

Matt has been one of our members from the start, led one of the most active chapters in the cohort and as a Board member drove much of what we do today.

Just some highlights of his work include leading a recreational fishing group that;

  • Was the first to carry out large scale public fundraising to support river health restoration actions

  • Was the first non-government organisation to carry out large scale river restoration works

  • Funded and established the first and now highly successful River Repair Bus

  • Overcame decades of problems with litter control in Dubbo to realise a multi-million dollar gross pollutant trap initiative by Council.

He also has been at the forefront of efforts by the recreational fishing sector to see irrigation pumps screened to stop millions of fish deaths each year both leading social media campaigns targeting solutions and funding initiatives to screen pumps by working with local irrigators.

His efforts to ensure recreational fishers fish responsibly and sustainably have been carried out for years and involved many issues including:

  • Developing the Burrendong Classic as a Catch and Release fishing competition.

  • Educating fishers on the use of release weights to prevent barotrauma.

  • Developing and heavily promoting the “When they’re on the nest give ’em a rest” campaign to protect Murray Cod during breeding season.

  • Helped fund and develop OzFish’s Inland Fishing Summit to raise issues about fish habitat among key recreational fishing representatives from across the Basin.

  • Led the first large effort by a non-government group to carry out major fish rescues in the Murray Darling Basin and then advised other Chapters on how to carry out this work.

Matt’s efforts in leading by doing, and his strong communication has set an example for recreational fishers across the country and the success of OzFish to have 49 active chapters of recreational fishers protecting and restoring fish habitat is in no small part due to Matt.

Well done mate, that’s the OzFish spirit right there.