Clean Up Australia Day picks up in 2023

Thank you to all of our members, supporters, and partners who volunteered to make our participation in Clean Up Australia Day the biggest in recent times.

The national clean-up day has been disrupted by droughts, fires, lockdowns, and floods in previous years, so we were determined to make a big impact in 2023. We certainly did that, thanks to the dedication of recreational fishers across the country.

We hosted 22 events on Sunday 5 March, from coast to coast and many waterways in between. It was fantastic to see so many like-minded people come together to help rid Australia’s waterways of rubbish, and support local communities, wildlife and native fish.

Together they collected more than half a ton of rubbish in just a single day.

What our volunteers achieved on Clean Up Australia Day and every time they take part in habitat restoration is to make their local waterway a healthier, cleaner, safer, and more beautiful environment.

Widespread support

Fishers in Australia are from all backgrounds and of all ages and it was shown by those who  stopped by to step up and clean up .

Our Manning Chapter members were thanked by 94-year-old local resident Jerry Sullivan as they went about collecting more than 120kgs of rubbish from waterways and parks. That included one volunteer picking up 240 cigarette butts from around a single picnic table.

In addition to cigarette butts, our team of kayakers, boaters, and shore walkers collected many glass and plastic bottles, and wrappers.

Working together for the Richmond River NSW

Five dedicated OzFishers hired a barge and set about removing a vast array of debris from the Richmond River. That included a broken canoe, discarded fish traps, PVC pipe, and a wheelie bin. It is a good reminder to not use Australia’s waterways as a dumping ground and be sure to take your rubbish home with you.

They were supported on the day by Aus Coast Diving and Marine. Our Richmond River Chapter’s cleanup efforts are on ongoing initiative funded by the NSW Government through a partnership with the Save our Specie program and the Environmental Trust.

In Dubbo, it was certainly a case of collaboration when our volunteers joined an event organised by Dubbo RiverCare, and teamed up with students from Central West Leadership Academy, and members of Garden Hotel Fishing Club.

Getting busy in Busselton WA

For the second year, our Geographe Chapter teamed up with Busselton Jetty for the ‘Big Busselton Jetty Clean Up’. Shore-based volunteers were joined by 14 divers, some who had recently supported our ‘Seeds for Snapper’ restoration project.  They removed 45kgs of rubbish and cleaned up more than 1km of jetty.

It was pleasing to note that less fishing waste was collected than last year. The message about sustainable fishing practises, including responsibly disposing of used tackle and rubbish, is getting through.

The day’s activities were supported by Swan Dive and Shelter Brewing.

Cleaning up the NSW coast

Our Illawarra Chapter was literally banging the drum for habitat restoration when its members removed half a drumkit among the 226kigs of rubbish they collected.

That wasn’t the only unusual item the volunteers picked up while scouring City Beach and Wollongong Harbor. Among the many pieces of discarded junk was a plastic trike, bike wheel, and lots and lots of clothes.

They were supported by Wollongong City Council and Mount Thomas Public School.

At Watsons Bay, 15 OzFishers engaged in removing 12kgs of rubbish. That doesn’t sound like much, but the majority was microplastics, from the waters. Local business, the Watsons Bay Hotel, supported them on the day.

In just 90 minutes, our Coffs Harbour Chapter removed more than 214kgs of rubbish from the Orara River at Glenreagh. Again, as was seen elsewhere across the country on the day, much of this was discarded plastic items. 

Out in numbers in Victoria

Our volunteers in Victoria got involved too, at a number of locations including Lake Eppalock, Kyneton, and Nyah. Along the lake’s shoreline, more than 35kgs of rubbish, mostly plastic items and glass beer bottles, was collected and responsibly removed.

Added to that was more than 50kgs of rubbish picked up by OzFishers in Nyah and Kyneton.

Big drive to success in South Australia

Our Cooroong Chapter teamed up with the Hamilton and District 4WD Club to clean up the local beach, including removing several large nets that had been left behind at the mouth of the Murray River.

Much still to be done

Every piece of rubbish removed from waterways on Clean Up Australia Day is a success. However, it is just one small step in a bigger battle that is part of the wider problem that is damaging our creeks, rivers, and coastal waters for communities and native fish alike.

Every day of the year, OzFish volunteers are engaged in habitat restoration somewhere in the country. They are creating positive change and lasting benefits but the scale of what remains to be done to revive Australian waterways as healthy and thriving ecosystems is significant.

Please don’t wait until next Clean Up Australia Day to get involved in responsible stewardship of your local waterway and natural spaces – drop us a line today and we’ll put you in touch with your local OzFish Chapter.


Become a member today and get involved with projects like these across Australia.