Kids and barra make a splash at Reef Catchments Family Fishing Fun Day

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Linsi and Emmy Satinie

More than 140 eager young anglers and their families enjoyed a day of fish focused fun at the Reef Catchments Family Fishing Fun Day, in September (2015).

The children took part in hands-on pest fish education and angling event, learning more as they helped release 1000 tagged barramundi fingerlings into the Mackay Gooseponds.

Event coordinator, Trent Power, said the barramundi release was part of on-going predatory control trial focused on the noxious pest fish, tilapia. But he said the major benefit of the day was raising community awareness.

“Mackay is an avid fishing community and we want the next generation to have a good awareness about how to keep our fish and waterways healthy,” Mr Power said.

“As well as being a fun day out, this event will help kids learn more about what they can do to protect our waterways and fish habitat, the kinds of fish to avoid, and the benefits of looking after our local native species, like barramundi.”

Trent Power and Luke Galea with the big draw prize winner of the day, young Malachai Davidson. Malachai won a fishing charter with thanks to Lake Proserpine Fishing Charters.

Trent Power and Luke Galea with the big draw prize winner of the day, young Malachai Davidson. Malachai won a fishing charter with thanks to Lake Proserpine Fishing Charters.

The barramundi release is the second phase of a research trial to investigate the potential of using native predatory fish to help control tilapia, a classified invasive pest species posing a significant threat to Queensland waterways and aquatic ecosystems.

Mr Power said the fish release and Reef Catchments Family Fishing Fun Day were both collaborative events and would not be possible without significant support from the local community.

“In particular, we would like to thank the Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance Inc for assisting with coordination of the fishing day and Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association (MAFSA) for providing the group’s hatchery to hold the fingerlings prior to the release”, he said.

Michael Wynn from Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance Inc. said the day was a great chance for young anglers to learn first-hand from the experts.

“We are proud to utilise our angler education team and teach junior fishers the finer points on how to land that prize catch,” he said.

Kieron Galletly from Mackay Area Fish Stocking Alliance said the initiative was an important one for the Mackay community.

“MAFSA is proud to assist again in the release of the fingerlings and to be able to use our recently upgraded hatchery facilities for housing and tagging of the barra prior to their release,” he said.

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Congratulations to the major lucky prize winner of the day, Malachai Davidson, who was very excited to win a fishing charter donated by Lake Proserpine Fishing Charters.

Those involved included Reef Catchments, Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance, Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association, Catchment Solutions, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Mackay Regional Council, Debbie’s Seafood, Tackle World Mackay, Nashy’s Compleat Angler, Lake Proserpine Fishing Charters and Pioneer Catchment Landcare.

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