Fish carers need funding lifeline
POMONA volunteer Ross Taylor now knows how the fish he helped kids and families catch feel - gutted.
Last Thursday he received correspondence from Fisheries Queensland telling him that State Government funding for the Fishcare awareness and education program he had been a part of for three years had been cut in the State Budget.
The volunteer program which has been running in Noosa for 15 years will cease on November 1.
"It is sad that the State Government is being totally irrational in its bid to save $4 billion," an unimpressed Mr Taylor said.
"This service also enables the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol to spend more time on compliance work as the volunteers do the education.
"Sure it might cost the government the supply of uniforms and the like, but this is offset by the fact that volunteers use their own vehicles, are not paid and provide a valuable free service."
Mr Taylor said he loved nothing more than to head to the boat ramps to chat to youngsters, families and any fisher folk about bag limits, fish sizes and even the best ways to hook a feed in the local river.
It is the sort of community service, not to mention tourist value-adding, for no extra cost.
"It seems to me that in its bid to make savings the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have totally disregarded the value of the work volunteers do and have failed to see the savings the Fishcare volunteer programs makes for the government.
"Through education this volunteer service has assisted the Boating and Fisheries Patrol in their compliance work and indeed has been responsible for increased compliance of fishing legislation and conservation of Queensland's fisheries through catch and release and, a take only what you need philosophies."
Mr Taylor said in the past Fishcare has run workshops including education session at the River to Reef Fishing Classic.