Fishing comps delivering citizen science benefits

Recreational fishing tournaments have always provided significant socio-economic benefits to regional communities, but now these popular events are also helping with monitoring of our inland fish populations.
A great example of this is the new Codcatch program, which allows DPI Fisheries scientists to work with anglers and tournament organisers to monitor native and non-native fish populations in key waterways across the State.
Codcatch is a citizen science-based initiative similar to the previous Basscatch program where data is collected on the number of fish caught, the effort anglers expend to catch these fish and the size of all fish caught.
This key catch, effort and biological data is used to better understand fish populations, size structure and changes in catch rates and fishing efforts while also helping fisheries managers to make important decisions on management practices such as stocking.
The recent Hay Fishing Tournament drew nearly 1000 entrants, providing a significant boost to the local economy of this small town on the Murrumbidgee River.
Competitors were also able to provide more than 500 reported captures to DPI Fisheries scientists, providing valuable information on the local fish population.
Like many comps these days, the Hay Fishing Tournament uses a “catch, photo and release” format.
Aside from being more socially and environmentally friendly, the “catch, photo and release” format require less administrative work to run and also allows researchers to more easily collect important data, giving fishers the opportunity to positively contribute to the future of fishing!
If you are interested in learning more about the Codcatch program, check out https://bit.ly/2NzeLMH. If you’re a tournament organiser and would like assistance for your future events, head to http://bit.ly/3aqWNFh for more info.
These programs are great examples of your fishing fees at work! – NSW DPI Fisheries

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