Members and Friends, welcome to the 2014 Annual Report for Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance Inc. - Putting true meaning into ‘fishing for the future’ and putting our ‘money where our mouth is.’
Two major projects have consumed most of our time and lots of dollars.
Early this year, Tilapia were discovered in the Gooseponds. Tilapia are acknowledged as one of the most invasive fish in the world. Tilapia have the ability to seriously impact our barramundi. If introduced to our local stocked impoundments, they could create havoc and put at risk the volunteer efforts of the Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association stocking our regional dams with 20 years of hard work.
Two options were placed on the table to rid our waterways of the tilapia. The first was to poison the waterways, the second to opt for a biological trial releasing of thousands of barramundi.
On expert advice, it was suggested that the Gooseponds be seeded with 1000 barra 300 mm long, with a further release of 1000 slightly smaller fish upstream of the Gooseponds in Jane Creek- the headwaters to the Gooseponds.
The most important consideration of all was that TIME was not on our side. These tilapia are currently confined – until the first flood that is. After dozens of phone calls and in the space of less than a week, $8,000.00 was raised by way of sponsorship ( MRFA taking the lead role contributing $2,500.00) and dozens of anglers( the Tilapia Army) from all walks of life put their hands up to help.
The Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association have released the initial 1000 Barra. I must say working with Keith Day is a pleasure. I might add that if I were on the battle front down to my last two bullets, I would want Keith Day by my side. We would both survive the onslaught and come out unscathed.
There is a long way to go until we rid these waterways of these pests, but I tell you working in partnership with MAFSA has been a pleasure and hopefully with the assistance of those with more knowledge and skills we will rid our waterways of these pests before Xmas this year.
At this stage Reef Catchments who are co-coordinating the eradication program will have a working bee, to be scheduled for a date to be advised where the Tilapia Army will join forces to remove the tilapia habitat.
NET FREE PROPOSAL: St. Helens – Cape Hillsborough.
Another project where we have worked in partnership, thousands of hours and dollars have been invested into this alone in the past year, if we can pull this off ( if local and state governments make business decisions based on facts ) our Net Free zone will put Mackay on the map for other reasons
than coal and sugar, our REMPLAN economic model indicates such a proposal is a “no brainer” creating well over one hundred jobs and injecting extra millions into the Mackay economy.
Win lose or draw, those who have assisted over the years will be able to look in the mirror and say we did our very best to make this happen in our life time.
To those who have been on this project from day one, namely Geoff Walsh, ( 16 years ) Darrell Mclennan 12 years , John Formosa since day dot, and newcomers Paul Formosa, Mick O’Donnell and Ben Atherton special thanks , we also acknowledge the support of Mackay Tourism Limited, Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce, Yuibera Traditional Owners, Caravan Parks Assoc. of Qld Inc. Caravan, R.V. & Accommodation Industry of Australia Ltd, The Seaforth Progress Association, The Seaforth Boating Club, and the Mackay Amateur Fishing Clubs association.
We also say thanks to those unknown who have assisted in the collection of thousands of names for our petition document.
At this stage we have an appointment with Qld Fisheries Minister Dr. John McVeigh in early September. After this meeting we will release our economic study for all to see. Hopefully we will have an influx of community business leaders come on board to harness the economic benefits our community will enjoy.
ANGLER EDUCATION: Going from strength to strength under the leadership of Glenn Fahy and Michael Connelly.
By years end nearly three hundred children ( not including the 156 who registered at our annual Family Fishing Day and the two hundred or so who participated in our Tackle World Mackay kids only fishing competition ) will have been through our school fish program and for those who caught their very first fish at our event they will have a lifetime of memories.
Success stories like this need two ingredients, people and money. Two Mackay locally owned and operated companies have assisted us financially big time, namely Tackle World Mackay and Reef Marine.
The following have assisted with our angler education programs during the year and we say thanks to. Ron “Mengie” Meng , Ralph Furlong, Jim Ryman, David and Margaret Hope, Michael Connelly, John Blaxland, Doreen Townson, John Cant, Brian Shepherd, Russell and Karen Manley, Michael Wynne, Sarina commercial crabber Greg Sichter, whose skills and knowledge about crabbing matters are worth their weight in gold, and members of the Mackay Apex Club who undertake catering duties at our annual Family Fishing Day at Shoal Point.
OUR FINANCIAL SITUATION:
Our secretary/treasurer Margaret Hope holds the key to our very healthy piggy bank, and our current financial situation is a credit to her diligence. If you want to spend money in this organization there needs to be more than one very good reason.
We hope our investment in promoting our net free zone and contribution to the tilapia eradication pay handsome dividends to our members /sponsors and members of the community.
MEMBERSHIP: We are proud to announce that our membership is 416.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS : MRFA wish to take this opportunity to thank the following people and organizations for their assistance during the past 12 months, namely George Christensen, M.P. Federal Member for Dawson who promised and delivered a substantial financial contribution to ensure we have sufficient economic funds for new and replacement fishing gear for years to come, to Tim Mulherin M.P. State member for Mackay for his kind donation to the tilapia eradication program , to the editor N.Q fish and Boat for their balanced reporting of issues such as our commercial net free project, to Meech Philpot and Kim Kleidon of ABC Radio, David Perkins (
Perko ) 1026 am radio , community radio 4CRM, to the Daily Mercury and Midweek newspapers and the Mackay Regional Council, in particular the infrastructure and engineering departments who are pro active when it comes to recreational fishing facilities within its jurisdiction.
Many of our projects have the moral support of Queensland Recreational Fishers network ( website qrfn.org ) we continuously get messages of encouragement from the foundation members. As mentioned before we have teamed up with the Mackay Area Fish Stocking Association. This informal arrangement was able to achieve wonders in relation to the tilapia outbreak in a relatively small space of time. Our partnership arrangement with the Midge Point fishing and social club “Family Fishing Day” at Midge Point was an outstanding success.
To our committee members I extend thanks, many have turned up faithfully for monthly meetings even on state of origin nights, some with golfing aliments and others with aches and pains that come when one has few too many miles on the clock.
Twice in as many months I have had people , one I have known for years stop me and tell me, keep up the good work, one said, I don’t exactly know what you do, but I want to become involved, the other owns a local hotel and retail liquor outlet, he wants me to call in one day to discuss how he can assist by way of sponsorship. I told him at this time we don’t need dollars just like minded people to lift the load on our exhausted group of committee members.
Our future is in the hands of another generation, we MUST commit more energies to seeking new blood to take this fantastic volunteer organization to a new level of excellence.
Please share our 2014 Annual Report with friends and associates – that’s how we grow !
REMINDER: Don’t forget to attend the Queensland Fisheries Management Review public meeting - to be held at the PCYC hall, off Norris Road on Monday, September 15 at 6pm.
PS A message to our political leaders - There is no shortage of Remarkable Ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them ......Seth Godin