Tactical Research Fund: Reducing the impact of discarded recreational fishing tackle on coastal seabirds
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
This proposal will address the FRDC Recfishing Research priority area "Assessing the impact of recreational fishing methods on conservation values of aquatic habitats" as announced in the 2012 Annual Competitive Round Call for Expressions Of Interest. After making inquiries with seabird rescue organisations, it has become apparent that seabird entanglements in discarded fishing tackle is of major concern. Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital report that their rescue unit responded to approximately 300 calls for bird entanglements in discarded fishing tackle in 2011 (to August 1). Further, the Rescue Hotline of Pelican and Seabird Rescue Inc. have received approximately 400 calls in 2011 (to the time of writing - 10/9/2011). These figures are unacceptable and measures need to be taken to decrease the incidence of seabird interactions with discarded recreational fishing tackle. The injuries that result from these interactions are often catastrophic, with a high proportion of entangled animals being euthanised. Healthy Waterways has produced a provocative poster, attached, depicting a pair of budgerigars surrounded by fishing line and hooks. Such negative stereotypes need to be addressed and, as such, there is a need to educate recreational fishers as to the consequences of the careless discarding of fishing tackle. This subject was recently highlighted in a Queensland recreational fishing publication, Queensland Fishing Monthly (see attachment). Both recreational fishing representative groups, Sunfish and Ecofishers, have expressed concern regarding this issue. A fifteen minute search at a secluded recreational fishing location in the northern suburbs of Brisbane by two people resulted in the collection of the fishing tackle pictured in the attachment (13/09/2011 - Tingalpa Creek). Although this could be construed as an environmental problem and beyond the purview of FRDC, it certainly reflects poorly on recreational fishers and, as such, an extension/educational project would help alleviate the problems highlighted in this proposal.
1. Quantify the extent of seabird entanglement in northern Moreton Bay
2. Convene a workshop involving relevant stakeholders in order to establish methods for mitigating seabird entanglements
3. Promote the responsible removal of discarded fishing tackle from popular fishing locations in northern Moreton Bay