Fishing competitions are popping up all over the country at the moment. It used to be that if you liked fishing competitively, you joined a fishing club, but these days it seems there is a public fishing competition just about every weekend of the year.
The Rocky Barra Bounty tag and release competition has been run annually on the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton since 1999. This event has always been structured to have a minimal impact on local fish stocks, and as a tag and release competition it positively contributes to extending research knowledge about barramundi stocks in the Fitzroy system.
Recently the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) saw fit to fund a project designed to develop an accreditation scheme for public fishing competitions. Last year, the Rocky Barra Bounty volunteered to be one of three public fishing competitions in Australia to undergo a trial assessment under the new draft accreditation processes.
The assessment process is quite involved and looks at several aspects associated with the fishing competition, for example the impact on the local fish stocks, how environmentally responsible the structure of the event is and what the competition gives back to the local community.
Barra Bounty organisers were thrilled when told their event had been evaluated extremely highly and topped the scoring among the trial sites.
Apart from the obvious advantage of such a scheme in deterring dodgy competitions from growing, it will also provide solid justification to assist prospective sponsors when making decisions about where they will channel their important sponsorship dollars in future. The scheme basically follows a similar approach to the Heart Foundation’s ‘tick of approval’ and the star rating used by hotels.
Once again this year, the Rocky Barra Bounty has agreed to be assessed under the new accreditation scheme and organisers are very confident of achieving an even higher assessment than last year after making a few minor modifications after feedback from last year’s assessment.
Nominations for this year’s Rocky Barra Bounty are now being accepted and if previous years are any indication, competitors better get their paperwork in soon, as the books close once 70 two-person teams have registered. The 2006 Barra Bounty runs over two days commencing with the evening briefing and welcome BBQ on Thursday October 12, culminating in a gala presentation function on the Saturday night October 14 in Rockhampton.
All event details and nomination forms are available online at www.info-fish.net. – Kim Martin