Angling in the Name of Science
1 February 2006
Avid anglers will drop a line on February 4-5 all in the name of science.
The annual fishing expedition for members of the Mid North Coast Fly Rodders Club won't be about hooking the 'big one'. The annual Bass Catch, first held in 1999, is a sampling program that records fish size and catch rates for a NSW Fisheries data registry, which monitors Australian Bass trends in the Hastings River.
Not only is this Australian native fish species highly regarded as a recreational sports fish, it was also identified in an Environmental Impact Statement for the Cowarra Dam project as playing an important role in maintaining a balanced aquatic ecosystem in the Hastings River.
Mid North Coast Fly Rodders Club member Peter Jenkins said Australian Bass were scarce in the river, which prompted the introduction of the restocking program.
In December 2000 the club commenced an annual Australian Bass restocking program for the Hastings River. Between 2000 and 2003, 120,000 fingerlings were released in the river with the help of $5000 annual funding provided by both Port Macquarie Hastings Council and NSW Fisheries. Additional funding was provided during 2005 to conduct four bass catches and compile a more thorough report on the species.
During the restocking program some fingerlings were chemically marked for future identification.
"Electro-fishing undertaken in 2002 found that two of every three Australian Bass captured, matching the age and size profile of the 2001-release fish, were chemically marked. This indicated that the Bass Restocking Program has been a success with the fingerlings thriving in the Hastings River environment," Mr Jenkins said.
Mid North Coast Fly Rodders Inc is an amateur fly fishing club that not only promotes and teaches the fine techniques of fly fishing to its 32 members, but also advocates the environmental benefits of catch and release fishing.