MAKE YOUR CATCH COUNT
Have you ever returned to the ramp after a day’s fishing in the Top End and been interviewed by a person with “Make your catch count” on the back of their shirt and wondered what this is all about? Recognising the importance recreational fishing plays in the Northern Territory (NT) lifestyle, the NT Government has committed $50 million in funding over five years to improve the Territory’s recreational fishing experiences and enhance its reputation as a world-class fishing destination. As part of the $50 million commitment, a comprehensive Territory-wide recreational fishing survey is now under way. The survey is designed to provide valuable information on recreational fishing catch, participation, fishing effort and expenditure from both local and visiting anglers. Having access to this key information is critical to effective resource management across all our fisheries and allows the NT Government to prioritise areas of importance to recreational fishing when making decisions. The collection of recreational fishing information is particularly important in areas where commercial fishing catch and effort data are unavailable or limited. These include areas such as Darwin Harbour, the Mary and Daly Rivers and King Ash Bay all of which have long been recognised as key recreational fishing locations. The last Territory-wide recreational fishing survey was undertaken in 2009-10 and it’s important to update this valuable information to help maintain the quality of recreational fishing. The survey consists of two primary components: a telephone/diary survey to collect information on NT residents, and a series of Territory wide on-site surveys that will collect visitor and resident information and provide targeted catchment specific data. The telephone/diary survey involves randomlyselected Territory resident fishers participating in a 12 month diary program in which they record their fishing activity in an angler diary. The on-site component of the survey involves NT Government staff being stationed at selected boat ramps around the Northern Territory to ask a few questions about your day’s fishing. Boat ramp surveys only take a few minutes to complete and interviewers are clearly recognisable by their shirts. Remember we don’t need to know about your top-secret fishing spot or special lure, just a general idea of the area you fished, how long you fished for and what you caught. All the info provided will be kept confidential and is vital for monitoring and improving the health of our recreational fisheries. At the completion of the survey period, the data will be analysed before a final report is produced and made publicly available. So “Make your catch count” next time you are approached at the boat ramp – be sure to say “Sure mate – what do you need know?” It will help maintain and boost recreational fishing in the Territory for years to come.