Dedicated Fishcare volunteer Wayne educating school children on recreational fishing rules and regulations.

The month of March found Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula and Westernport region with a full program. Our biggest event in the autumn is Schools Environment Week held at The Briars at Mt Martha. The “Enviro Schools Week” ran this year between 20th March – 23rd March, with a morning and afternoon session. Sarah our State Coordinator assisted for her first event as State Coordinator for the Monday morning session. For the rest of the week, a dedicated Mornington Peninsula volunteer; Wayne Taylor, assisted with teaching an overall total of 132 workshops spreading the sustainable fishing messages to 875 students. At the end of the week, we got such great feedback putting us in the top 4 of presenters in the Expo paddock out of the 22 other presenters that were there throughout the week.

The following week we attended our regular Portsea Camp school holiday clinics, but this time with an added twist! Wayne and I ran 4 educational sessions with various groups so they could “unlock” the fishing component of the trip the following day. The camp runs week-long camps in school holidays for disadvantaged, special needs and rurally isolated 9-12 year old children over Easter holidays. During the dry session, the participants learned about rules and regulations around fishing, how to measure their catch, what invasive species are found in freshwater systems and in Port Phillip Bay. While discussing the European Carp with them, we found out that most of them had travelled from towns located around the Murray River. This meant that we were able to delve a bit deeper into freshwater species that they may encounter as well as the species they could catch the following day within the bay. Wayne ran a Casting Competition with a hula hoop and some plastic fish shapes they had to catch, with each fish getting them a different set of points. The male and female winner of each session went home with a bag full of Fishcare goodies such as our “Get Hooked… It’s fun to fish” book, a Green guide, “Measure your Catch” fresh and saltwater rulers as well as some stickers. Every participant received a brand new 2017 Rules and Regulations Fishing Guide too!

State Coordinator Sarah Van Stokrom dropping in a line off the Portsea Pier

The next day, we ended up not running our regular boat trips but instead we fished off of the Portsea Pier. There were a few large stingrays spotted as well as a couple of leatherjackets and toadfish caught. Overall it was a great day of fishing and had a few of the students come back for multiple fishing sessions. Portsea Camp is an event I always look forward to, and will have our next one in September with 13-16 year olds.

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