A responsibility to care for the environment goes hand in hand with hunting and fishing, a visiting conservation consultant and angler believes.
American Tom Sadler, who will speak at the Fishes for Fish Habitat Forum this week, visited Lake Canobolas yesterday during a tour of popular fishing spots in NSW.
The lake has been improved by volunteer groups and government organisations over the past seven years, with willows removed, water quality improved, flows into the lake increased and native species returned.
Mr Sadler said the projects at Lake Canobolas, spearheaded by local angler Rodney Tonkin, were an example of how people could improve their resources for the benefit of both the environment and fishing enthusiasts.
“It’s the volunteer activity of people getting together and saying it doesn’t have to be like this,” he said. “If you’re going to be a steward of the land, which is incumbent on people involved in hunting and fishing, then giving your time, money and energy to help create the habitat is vitally important.”
Mr Sadler has been a conservation consultant and advocate for 15 years and is a professional fly fishing instructor.
He said the United States had a national program to improve waterways while involving anglers at individual sites.
“Habitat equals recreational opportunity and recreational opportunity equals economic activity,” he said. “From what I’ve seen here the recreational opportunities are remarkable. It’s beautiful. You have a treasure here. I hope I can encourage the recreational anglers in Australia to take heart from some of the activities in the States.”
There are 1.7 million recreational anglers in NSW.
Industry and Investment NSW conservation manager Charlotte Jenkins said those anglers were becoming more aware of the need to put effort into maintaining waterways.
“They are certainly becoming more aware of the environment they’re fishing in and of the native species that need a lot of help,” she said.