From 2016 to 2018, recreational fishers across Australia focussed their attention on fish habitat as part of the project, Empowering recreational fishers as champions of healthy fish habitat
Budget expenditure: $346,000.00
Project Status:
Principal Investigator: Craig Copeland
Organisation: OzFish Unlimited
Project start/end date: 30 Sep 2015 - 31 May 2018
Recreational Fishing
Fisheries Management


Recreational fishers are natural champions for Australian fish habitat. Taking leadership in this role is critical in the rehabilitation of the Australian recreational fishery.
Fish habitat throughout Australia is in trouble. Progressive degradation of fish habitat has occurred since European settlement and continues today. Recreational fishers stand to lose significantly through diminished fisheries productivity and access if this degradation continues. The degradation of the recreational fishery has significant implications socially and economically.
Degradation of fish habitat needs to be slowed and the big challenge is to rehabilitate what has been lost and this will bring benefits not only to recreational fishing but also to local environments and the broader community. However, these changes are not happening to the degree needed, nor will they happen, without the active support of the recreational fishing community.
This was recognised by Australia's recreational fishing community who called for the development of a national fish habitat rehabilitation plan as a priority output of the 2012 National Recreational Fishing Conference and in the Keep Australia Fishing Report (Salter, 2011).
In order for progress to be made, the current skills, knowledge, capability and collaboration among Australia's recreational fishing community regarding fish habitat and habitat rehabilitation must be escalated. That is the primary objective of this project which meets the Investment Priorities as identified in priority 2 for People Development – “Building Capacity within the recreational fishing community to improve fisheries productivity via delivery of fish habitat enhancement initiatives and associated R&D”.
The approach to this work needs to reflect the differences in where various recreational fishing communities are in terms of their knowledge and skills, and the different ways in which fishers get information and whose information they trust. This project takes an approach that is evidence-based and specific to the recreational fishing community in Australia.


1. Deliver activities that increase the capability of recreational fishers to define, participate, and lead activities that improve fish habitat outcomes.
2. Enhance awareness and understanding within the recreational fishing community of the primary role habitat plays in sustaining and improving fisheries
3. Prepare the recreational fishing sector’s framework and contribution to a National Fish Habitat Strategy and Action Plan

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