World Fisheries Day: Rockhampton, Fitzroy River featured in international livestream
Rockhampton may be best known for its beef, but now the city of Queensland is looking to become a future fishing hotspot.
On Saturday, the Fitzroy River was the only Australian fishing destination featured in what would be the first 24-hour international fishing livestream.
Hosted by Fishing TV in London, the livestream drew fishermen from all over the world, giving them a taste of some of the best and most sustainable fishing spots in the world as part of World Fisheries Day.
Fishing Identity John Haenke, who broadcast live from central Queensland alongside presenter Steve Starling, said Rockhampton deserved a place in the event.
“There is no doubt that people would travel from places around the world to come and fish here.”
The stream also featured locations in New Zealand, Japan, the UK, and the US.
Rockhampton is now a ‘fishing tourism hub’
Fishing tourism is growing in the area, with Rockhampton Regional Council placing a strong emphasis on sport to attract people to the city.
Rockhampton Regional Councilor Tony Williams said the combination of the Fitzroy River running through the middle of town and the bite of a big barra was what made Rockhampton such a special fishing spot.
“[There is] an opportunity to enter a CBD and catch a 1 meter barramundi right by the river, âsaid Cr Williams.
“We now have charter boats sailing the river, we have more competitions, we catch more fish.”
Cr Williams said being part of the global livestream is a unique opportunity to complement this fishing campaign.
Future of sustainable fishing
Known locally as the homeland of barramundi, it wasn’t just the size or type of fish in the mighty Fitzroy that caught the attention of Fishing TV in London.
“They are very conservation conscious and envision sustainable fishing in the world,” said Mr Haenke.
“Because Rockhampton is a no-net areaâ¦ it was very much in line with the kind of thing they were looking for.”
Mr Haenke said the Rockhampton Regional Council has been proactive on sustainable fishing practices.
âThey have stopped all gillnets in the Fitzroy River and adjacent coasts, which means there is a much better future for the fish in this area,â Haenke said.
âWe went to regions where [netting] is quite common and I have seen the fishery decline very quickly because of it.
âThey were smart enough to realize that if they want this to be a sustainable fishery, the gillnet cannot continue.
Cr Williams said that the net-free areas created specific fishing tourism potential for fishermen.
âIt’s having the opportunity to catch a trophy fish, take a photo of it, and then put it right back into the system for the next person,â he said.