Recreational fishing for mental health and wellbeing

Promoting the benefits of recreational fishing for wellbeing and mental health is part of a new campaign being promoted through the Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (MRFAC).

The Let’s Fish SA campaign features a series of 15 second videos promoting how recreational fishing can assist wellbeing and mental health and is an Australian Fishing Trade Association initiative supported by $50,000 from the Marshall Liberal Government through Wellbeing SA.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said while many recreational fishers are aware firsthand of the health and wellbeing benefits gained from dropping a line in the water, it is an aspect of recreational fishing that is often not well promoted.

“Recreational fishing provides a great opportunity for friends and families to spend time together, reconnecting with nature and enjoying the great outdoors,” Minister Basham said.

“An estimated 277,000 men, women and children recreationally fish in South Australia and we often look at the economic benefits this sector provides by visiting regional communities, visiting local tackle shops and eating at local restaurants, all of which supports jobs in our regions. .

“Here in South Australia, we are so fortunate that our wonderful coastal and inland waterways enables plenty of opportunities for camping, boating and fishing that we sometimes take all this for granted. The Lets Fish SA campaign is a great initiative promoting the health benefits of recreational fishing.”

The President of the Australian Fishing Trade Association Michael Starkey said the South Australian component of the campaign was part of a larger national Let’s Fish initiative, having already launched in Queensland.

“As we have all grappled with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other adverse events such as bushfire, drought and flood in recent years it is apparent there has been a significant toll on the health and wellbeing of individuals and families across the country,” Mr Starkey said.

“With lockdowns leading to isolation, reduction in exercise and an increased reliance on digital content for stimulation we believe as we emerge into this new post restriction phase of the pandemic, that it is a good time to remind people of the opportunities recreational fishing provides for reconnection to their community and the physical world around them.”

Independent Chair of the Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council Sharon Starick said the aim of the Let’s Fish SA video campaign is to encourage people back to recreational fishing and back to nature more broadly as they fish whether it be at our jetty’s along the coast, on the water or by inland waterways.

The aim and objective is to encourage people to go outside into the environment, be it rivers, reservoirs, lakes or ocean and participate in recreational fishing in a non-restricted environment.

“The videos are essentially a visual cue to remind people why they enjoyed going out for a fish in the past and the benefits of returning to such activities as we start to look at life beyond COVID restrictions,” Ms Starick said.

Videos and information on the Let’s Fish SA campaign is available at https://afta.net.au/lets-fish-australia/

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