Project number: 2019-213
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $70,000.00
Principal Investigator: Adam J. Martin
Organisation: Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF)
Project start/end date: 14 Oct 2020 - 31 Aug 2021


The ARFF Tackle Box project is funded through the ‘our marine parks’ grants funded by Parks Australia. The project aims to develop a recreational fishing app to collect data from scheduled recreational fishing competitions around Australia with the aim of being able to provide data on the interactions of recreational fishers with Australia’s Commonwealth Marine Parks. So far, the application has 1049 unique users, used for 9 fishing events, and has had data input for 1905 fish and 85 Photo only competition entries.
A real and meaningful opportunity exists for ARFF to lead the national recreational fishing community by introducing some simple retooling of the ARFF Tackle Box app and get on the front foot. There will be a push from some groups to keep people fishing but the reality is we need to be responsible right now. At this point, I think this is a moment FRDC can shine as well by supporting with funding as I am told there is considerable funds still available with the Rec Fish Research budget. Also, the government has subtly announced fiscal stimulus packages for sports and arts soon to keep the population engaged and there maybe potential to tap into both sporting/recreation and mental health funding. We have received offers of help to apply for these funding opportunities by professionals in these fields when they become available.
The proposal is to revise the current model and focus on the stash of data that exists already on people’s phones and keeping people engaged at home so that when the crisis passes, they are ready to go on our network. Capitalising on the low hanging fruit without fishers actively fishing and easily reach a user target of ten thousand people in a matter of weeks and potentially One hundred thousand users within 6 months without leaving home. This consists of 5 key elements:

• Fantasy/Photo only competition where people submit what they have on their phones from previous fishing trips before ARFF’s “quarantine at home/fish within the rules” policy came into effect.
• Community voting, engagement rather than “scoreboards”. It actively engages the community without the need to leave home.
• Keeping people connected with regular briefings and interactions with the states and regio


1. To further develop the Tackle box project/application (funded by Parks Australia) to connect recreational fishers during the COVID-19 situation
2. To use the extended platform to educated recreational fishers on the relevance of Government measures to recreational fishing, ensuring those that should not be fishing don’t and those that can know under what conditions they can.
3. To extend FRDC information through the new platform including advertising of the current national social and economic survey and extending of results and information relevant as they become available. Extend other relevant project information in this time such as Tuna Champions, fish handling practices, habitat rehabilitation, safety etc.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-6484281-1-4
Authors: Adam Martin Stefan Sawynok and Bill Sawynok
Final Report • 1.79 MB


This project examined the impact of Covid-19 on recreational fishing using a citizen science approach. The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) teamed up with Infofish Australia Pty Ltd to use recaptures of tagged fish in Queensland and fishing competitions around Australia in novel ways to assess the impact by comparing data from 2020 with 2019.

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