John Waters to lead Limestone Coast Fishcare team

It’s been seven years since John Waters first answered a call in the local paper for people to join the Limestone Coast Fishcare Volunteer program.

This National Volunteer Week (May 21-27), he’s launching his own call for passionate fishers to follow suit.

“I’d always thought about becoming a fisheries officer but I never got to it for one reason or another,” said John, who is now team leader of Limestone Coast Fishcare.

“Then I saw an advertisement for Fishcare Volunteers in the local area and I jumped on it.

“I love it and haven’t looked back.”

As the Limestone Coast Team Leader, John leads a small team of volunteers, which includes his wife Debbie, who regularly attend community events like street markets, schools and field days to speak with recreational fishers about ways they can help to protect and preserve local fishing resources.

“I take my role as a Fishcare Volunteer and team leader very seriously because I really want recreational fishing to be enjoyed sustainably.

“I’ve got five grandkids and want South Australia to have healthy fish stocks for my grandchildren and their children to enjoy.

 “We talk to a lot of tourists on the Limestone Coast, especially those from interstate who think our rules are the same as theirs, which they’re not.

“For example, there’s no size limit on Mullet in Victoria but South Australia has a limit and there are Queenslanders who think they can cast a net for bait which isn’t allowed.

“Plus there are a lot of international tourists during the summer months who don’t know what type of fish they’re catching so we talk to them about the different species and show them photos.

“I would say that 98 per cent of people are very appreciative of the help and say thanks to us for volunteering and helping the community.

“It’s a good feeling and we’d love to have more people join the team.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the state’s 76 active Fishcare Volunteers play an important role as a conduit between recreational fishers and Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Fisheries & Aquaculture.

“South Australia is incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated pool of Fishcare volunteers throughout such areas as metropolitan Adelaide, Riverland, Limestone Coast, Port Lincoln, Victor Harbor and Yorke Peninsula.

“Our volunteers have a passion for thriving rivers, lakes and marine environments with a commendable sense of service to the community.

“The Fishcare Volunteer program is now in its 23rd year of operation, which is a credit to those who are currently part of the program and to those who have come before.

“Whether volunteers are handing out educational brochures or sizing gauges to recreational fishers, or speaking with them about fisheries management arrangements including size, bag and boat limits, they are highly valued and I thank them for their continued service.”

Becoming a Fishcare Volunteer

Anyone over the age of 18 can become a Fishcare Volunteer. All you need is an interest in conserving our fisheries resources and to be willing to help provide information to the fishing public.

The work of Fishcare Volunteers is highly valued and rewarding – it includes educating recreational fishers about South Australian fishing rules and regulations, handing out fisheries information brochures and educational devices and attending community events throughout the state.

Fishcare Volunteers are found in metropolitan Adelaide, Riverland, Port Lincoln, Yorke Peninsula, Victor Harbor and the Limestone Coast.

The Fishcare Volunteer program was established in 1994 to raise awareness among fishing communities of the need to protect and preserve our resources for future generations.

In 2018, the program is in its 23rd year of operation.

To find out more information or to apply online, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/fishcare_volunteers.