Fishing, People, Species and Places in Moreton Bay

Podcast Episode: Robbie Porter

Robbie Porter is the president of the Moreton Bay Chapter of Ozfish Unlimited – he’s a longtime recreational angler, and he is utterly passionate about looking after the place he loves so much.

He also makes a great coffee, and has a suuuuuper cute friend called Pippi, who came within a whisker of being abducted after our interview… 😂

Check out the episode:

Recreational fishing

I read a lot of papers about management of marine resources, and I really struggle with the term “recreational fishers” (I’m not alone). Recreational fishing is a good term to describe an activity – but “recreational fishers” is a terrible way to categorise stakeholders because the motivations and approaches for recreational fishing are so diverse.

The last statewide fishing survey (2013-14) found there were an estimated 650,000 recreational anglers in Queensland, and an earlier (2010) survey found recreational fishers in have multiple goals for their activities. The activity was related to fish, but the motivations, not so much! The most common were actually relaxing and spending time in nature, and most respondents strongly agreed a trip could be “successful” even if nothing was caught.

But of course, the actual fish-related motives – catching a fish to take home, or as Robbie told me, to bring home for his family – are equally meaningful and important. Other motives, as Daryl McPhee notes in this paper, include the challenge, or “thrill seeking” of catching a wild animal. Daryl also talked a little about how we might start capturing the diversity of goals and motivations of recreational fishers, so we’re not lumping everyone in together as a single “stakeholder group”, on MBOP when he joined us for an episode.

I’ve spent a lot of time around marine planners, managers and scientists, and despite what (some) news items would suggest, they really DO want to protect the rights of people to meet their personal goals and enjoy their leisure time as they wish. In fact, a very good percentage of these scientists and managers fish regularly and want to continue to do so!.

What they’re trying to do is balance the current generation’s desire to do that, with the rights of future generations to enjoy the same activities. In many ways, they’re really trying to protect the culture of recreational fishing – a culture they themselves enjoy.

What Robbie described about the upcoming fishing competition is a great example of what Ozfish and other recreational fishing associations or clubs are attempting or promoting – to integrate the practice of care for the future into the activity of fishing.

Shellfish reefs

(c) Robbie Porter

Robbie gave us a great overview of the need for shellfish reefs, as well as the steps involved in the restoration project. For even more illustration of the value of this project, well, seeing is believing:

(c) Robbie Porter

As Robbie told us, a large adult oyster can filter nearly 200 litres of water a day! Take a look at them in timelapse:

(c) Florida Oceanographic Society on YouTube

Robbie told us only 0.1 of a percent of oyster cups – the shells that hold the oysters we buy retail, or are delivered on our plates in restaurants, make it to the project. Queenslanders love our seafood – we can do more!

Help out:

You can join Ozfish, or make a donation, to help this project, even if you’re not a recreational fisher.

(c) Robbie Porter

You can also donate when you purchase at BCF stores, by rounding up your purchase to donate to Ozfish.

Or if you want to be more hands on, why not ask your local restaurant or seafood truck if they donate used shells rather than throw them in the bin? Tell them about the project and its benefits – to their bottom line and the food they’re supplying – if they aren’t aware!

Finally, why not get in touch with Ozfish to find out if you can deliver used shells after your next birthday or Christmas party? Let’s make this the default option, reducing waste and benefiting Moreton Bay at the same time.

Volunteers getting involved! (c) Robbie Porter

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