26 September 2023

DAF’s Infofish database tags up a million

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The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has hailed its recent volunteer tagging database Infofish as the first citizen science tagging program in the world to tag 1 million fish since its inception in 1986.

According to the Minister for Fisheries, Mark Furner catching the millionth fish was a significant achievement which took 17,000 volunteer taggers a combined 198,600 days (that’s 544 years!) to net the milestone.

“Combine that with 76,000 recaptures of tagged fish reported by 23,000 fishers, and another 460,000 fish from catch records and competitions, and it adds up to a seafood buffet of valuable insights,” Mr Furner said.

“Community-based fish tagging has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the movement patterns and growth rates of many fish species, and the Infofish program is recognised as a world leader in this space,” he said.

“As well as allowing us to monitor changes in our fish populations at a local level, the program also promotes stewardship by educating anglers on the best ways to catch, handle and release the fish they tag.”

He said the data provided by recreational anglers as part of the Infofish program is often used in combination with targeted biological data and fisheries information collected by Fisheries Queensland to inform the assessment for some of Queensland’s most important recreational species.

Secretary of the program’s partner Suntag, Bill Sawynok, said the achievement was “Not bad for a volunteer citizen science program”.

“The great work of all those 17,000 fishers voluntarily contributing their time, fishing equipment and money to tag fish needs to be acknowledged, as without that, what has been achieved would not have been possible,” Mr Sawynok said.

In an effort to boost the tagging scheme and recreational fishing tourism, Infofish and the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland have been working to deliver the Fish‘n’SIP$ tagged fish competition.

Cash prizes of between $1,000 and $20,000 have been on the line since 14 December with five lakes in the Wide-Bay Burnett, Central and North Queensland regions each breaming with 20 prized fish.

Mr Furner said fishers had already caught tagged fish and claimed first and second prizes but there were increased enquiries about both the scheme and the competition, with many anglers being drawn to new impoundments in the regions.

He said to participate in the competition, fishers will need a SIPS permit, which was available online on DAF’s website, or from the QLD Fishing 2.0 smartphone app, at 585 Australia Post outlets throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales, or by phoning 1300 575 359.

DAF’s website can be accessed at this PS News link.

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