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PRESS RELEASE: MERV HUGHES & CROWDFUNDING HELP BRING BACK FISH HABITATS



In an innovative move, three catchment management authorities (CMAs) in Victoria including Corangamite, Glenelg Hopkins and Goulburn Broken will band together with the Australian River Restoration Centre (ARRC) to launch their first crowdfunding campaign on Pozible aptly named ‘Funds for Fish’, with full support from Aussie cricket legend, Merv Hughes. 

With the 30 day campaign set to launch on 13 February 2017, communities in Victoria, fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers are being called on to support local river projects which will restore native fish habitats and waterways. The Victorian Government has also chipped in with some funding to help kick off the program. 

“There are a number of reasons why fish habitat needs to be improved and why we need some extra support,” says Adam Bester, Funds for Fish Project Manager. 

“Whilst we work hard to monitor and improve the health of our waterways, we’ve realised this is something we cannot do alone. We’re undertaking our Pozible campaign because we understand how effective local communities can be to achieve big changes. Using crowdfunding, social media and other channels, we want to empower the community to get involved and help make a positive transformation to our waterways. We chose crowdfunding as it enables the community to directly invest in causes and projects that they care about.” 

People supporting the crowdfunding campaign will be able to donate as little as $2, and funds raised will be matched dollar for dollar by the CMAs using funding from the Victorian Government’s Regional Riparian Action Plan and other government initiatives to improve the health of regional waterways. These funds will be used to provide works such as installing ‘fish hotels’ or increasing vegetation along riverbanks. Fish habitats that include logs, rocks, native trees and good water quality are really important to help fish survive, grow and breed. The CMAs involved have outlined how funds raised will be used specifically in their catchment areas. 

As an avid fisherman and with his own angling television show ‘Merv Hughes Fishing’, Aussie cricketing legend Merv Hughes says it was a no brainer to lend his support to the program. 

“Funds For Fish is a great way to increase angler awareness of the importance of habitat for fish.  More habitat in our rivers means more fish to catch” says Merv. 

Each CMA has set a funding goal to carry out specific projects they seek to roll out in their catchment area. Glenelg Hopkins CMA is working with local community and angling groups to raise $12,000 to put towards in stream habitat such as rock and fish hotels, weed control and tree planting for Estuary Perch. Corangamite CMA is seeking $10,000 to put towards re-snagging Spring Creek and revegetating key parts of the waterway to provide critical habitat for Estuary Perch. Finally, Goulburn Broken CMA aim to raise a total of $15,000 to accelerate habitat restoration to improve the outlook for the endangered Macquarie Perch. 

Funds for Fish already has strong involvement from organisations such as VRFish, Fisheries, OzFish, Merv Hughes Fishing and Native Fish Australia. Fundamental to the project’s success will be community support.  The CMAs hope anglers, local farmers, conservation groups, schools, businesses and the general community will all become involved - either by purchasing a ‘perk’ or making a donation through the crowdfunding campaign.   

Perks may include experiences, accommodation, business promotion and other goods produced for the campaign, or kindly donated by local businesses. All donations are fully tax deductible through the Australian River Restoration Centre. 

Once the funding campaign is complete, the CMAs will get straight to work to provide the additional fish habitat and hope to see fish numbers increasing, which will be available for current and future generations to enjoy.  

To be the first to hear when the campaign goes live or to offer support for the campaign, go to www.fundsforfish.com.au and join the database or follow the project on any of the CMA social networks. 

 >ENDS< 

Media interested in interviewing Adam Bester (Project Manager) should contact Zahra Haryadi on 0466 917 107 or email zahra@thecreativecollective.com.au

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