There is no silver bullet for sustainability.
Instead, it is much more important to have a tapestry of organisations, each focusing on a different area of sustainability in our oceans and waterways.
That is why OneFishTwoFish is proud to partner with different organisations around Australia: together, we can make a difference.
Introducing OzFish Unlimited.
For the last seven years, OzFish has been working away to replenish the populations of fish in rivers, lakes and estuaries and oceans through the work of volunteer Aussie anglers.
After working in aquatic habitat rehabilitation for almost 30 years, CEO and Founder Craig Copeland realised that the average recreational fisher was unsure how critical the habitat is to the future of their sport.
“They knew where to find fish and how to catch them, but very little about fixing habitats” he explains.
That’s slowly changing! OzFish exists to educate fishers about the importance of fish habitats, and then it puts the tools in their hands so that they can help improve their local waterways.
“We’ve got a number of major initiatives underway” explains Craig. OzFish volunteers are collecting seagrass seeds and delivering them to places that seagrass has been lost from in Cockburn Sound, WA and near the Gulf St Vincent in SA, providing hundreds of thousands of fish a place to live and thrive (the Seagrass Project is supported by OneFishTwoFish, and you can find out more here).
Volunteers are also placing oyster baskets into Moreton Bay and these triangular prisms filled with oyster shells will regrow the oyster population in an area where they are severely at risk and support thousands of fish.
Additionally, volunteers are replanting trees along the sides of rivers, replacing logs back into rivers to provide habitats for the fish and restoring fish passage. These initiatives are taking place all over the country. “It’s recreational fishers making a real difference,” explains Craig.
And this difference couldn’t have come soon enough. Most of the populations of fish in Australia are severely diminished from the levels before 1788.
In Northern New South Wales, 70% of the habitat (about 70,000 hectares) has vanished. Similarly, 95% of the shellfish reefs have vanished from waterways around Australia.
Yet, this can be reversed simply by restoring the habitat. “Let’s take for example our replanting of seagrass,” says Craig. “Each square metre of seagrass can support at least between 1-5 fish per year.
This year alone, we’ve reseeded two hectares. That is anywhere up to 100,000 more fish.” This success is shared across all of their programs so far.
The population of oysters has being replenished in Moreton Bay and the populations of fish in the rivers in which they have been rebuilding habitats has shown strong signs of recovery as well.
“Basically, restoring habitat works,” says Craig. “With more funding and more volunteers, who knows what we could achieve? Maybe every waterway in Australia could be restored.”
At OneFishTwoFish, we are huge fans of OzFish. We hope you will be too.
If you sign up to OneFishTwoFish, as well as repopulating the ocean with new fish, you will also be supporting the work of the team at OzFish Unlimited and the growing band of active recreational fishers.
Take a more in-depth look at https://ozfish.org.au/.