"Protect your catchment, protect your catch" - a collaborative initiative to boost fishery productivity in Corner Inlet
Mezo Research Sydney
John R. Ford
The productivity of the Corner Inlet fishery is under threat from poor water quality flowing from the surrounding catchment. The recently completed FRDC project 2013-021 identified a pathway to address these water quality issues through collaborative management. There is a need to further support this collaborative approach and secure an ongoing commitment from decision-makers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery. We alsosee need to build the profile of the fishing industry and to showcase the positive work they are doing to improve the health of the marine environment. This will serve to increase social license and ensure the future of the sector. This proposed short, low-budget FRDC extension project realizes the hard work and learnings from FRDC project 2013-021. This project identified significant challenges of poor water quality leading to seagrass habitat loss and reduced fishery productivity. We need to combine our research with projects from other sectors that present solution to these challenges. The Corner Inlet Water Quality Improvement Plan (West Gippsland CMA) provides a roadmap for improving water quality by adopting industry improvement programs such as Fert$mart (Dairy Australia). Therefore, we have all the ingredients and groundwork in place to improve conditions for the fishery, we now need an event to showcase our plan to decision makers. Currently, our project partners the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority have secured funding to form the basis of a showcase event. This event will provide a unique platform to present a united message from major industries in the catchment - fisheries, dairy and tourism. We see great potential for strong investment and commitment in addressing issues of water quality and fisheries productivity given the existing multi-sectoral collaborations, multi-sectoral research and strong action plan. Despite the event being funded, there are currently no resources to engage the fishing sector and promote their involvement. There is hence need to adequately fund the engagement of fishers, to promote their profile and credentials, and untlimately to ensure they are key players driving a sustainable future.
1. Extension of the findings and recommendations of FRDC Research Project 2013-021 through continuing the process of collaborative management
2. Bring together key Corner Inlet industries and federal and state government decision-makers to present a unified vision of solving water quality and fishery productivity challenges
Principal Investigator: John Ford
Key Words: Collaborative management, fish habitat, seagrass, fisheries outreach, community engagement.