Source reduction of professional fishing debris

Mr Simon Rowe1

1OceanWatch Australia, Pyrmont, Australia


A growing number of Australian community groups are increasingly reporting fishing-related marine debris on our beaches. Not only are these items being collected and catalogued, but they are also front and centre of a growing number of Instagram and Facebook posts with a new generation of Australians aghast at the situation we now face in relation to plastic pollution. How do we progress?

OceanWatch Australia, a non-government, not-for-profit environmental organization, is partnering with Tangaroa Blue under the ReefClean Program to develop source reduction plans for both Professional Bait bags and Cyalume light sticks on the Great Barrier Reef.

The methodology involves modelling existing data on collections and adapting a standard community catchment format source reduction plan, to one that looks at the issue at an industry level. Like a detective, the role is to look at why particular types of items are being discarded and try to second guess by whom before approaching the user or supplier sector looking for mitigation options. Once options in behaviours or product are apparent, it becomes an exercise in driving adoption.

The results of such investigations form the basis of the source reduction plan which this presentation will unpack for one of the listed items.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and OceanWatch Australia.


Simon is a plant scientist with a passion for working with rural communities and primary industry. 15 years with OceanWatch Australia, the varied role sees him bridging the gap between Science, Policy and On ground interventions for the betterment of fish habitats. Simon is a strong advocate for ensuring healthy environments produce healthy fish for all Australians.