Meet OzFish Unlimited Media Manager, Jonathon Bleakley
In a snapshot, tell us about OzFish Unlimited?
OzFish Unlimited is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping the millions of Aussie recreational fishers take control of the health of their rivers, lakes and estuaries and shore up the future of the sport they love. OzFish Unlimited partners with anglers and the broader community to invest time and money into the protection and restoration of our waterways, counteracting decades of degradation.
Over the years, how has OzFish expanded and grown its operations?
OzFish started as a small group in the Richmond River NSW in 2015 following a decision by our founder and CEO Craig Copeland to do something about the degrading health of his local waterway. Now, OzFish has over 50 local chapters, 98 projects, and 40 staff across Australia working with governments, corporations, and small business to lead some the world’s largest community restoration projects. Through awareness campaigns, education and research, OzFish has placed the need for conservation at the forefront of the communities’ minds.
To date, what is OzFish’s biggest achievement?
It would have to be our Seeds For Snapper project, which is the leading community driven restoration program in the southern hemisphere. In Cockburn Sounds, WA – OzFish has collected and replanted 1.1 million seeds, completed 1300 volunteer hours through its members, and undertaken 316 designed dives to reestablish seagrass meadows. This is all in response to the finding that since the 1950’s, we have lost 85% of our seagrass population. You can find out all about it here: https://ozfish.org.au/programs/seagrass-restoration/
The end of the year is fast approaching, what are some things we can expect from Ozfish to round off 2022, plus bring us into the new year?
There are some super exciting things coming up at OzFish. We are in the process of creating a junior program for young anglers across Australia, launching new programs across our coastal system restoring seagrass and shellfish, establishing new chapters in all reaches of Australia, and taking ownership of the written space in terms of conservation and waterway management.