Calling all fishers in the Hastings region

17 MAY 2023

Calling all fishers in the Hastings region

Charles Sturt University environmental researchers will speak to local fishers at an event in Port Macquarie hosted by Oz FishTalks (East Coast NSW) on Wednesday 24 May.

  • Charles Sturt University researchers join fishing forum in Port Macquarie to discuss the protection and restoration of vital fish habitat and to introduce an exciting opportunity to be involved in future research

Charles Sturt University environmental researchers will speak to local fishers at an event in Port Macquarie hosted by Oz FishTalks (East Coast NSW) on Wednesday 24 May.

Lecturer in Environmental Science Dr Jessica Tout-Lyon (pictured, inset) in the Charles Sturt School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences will speak about ‘eDNA (environmental DNA): Investigating the dynamics of fish communities in estuaries and in river systems on the Mid North Coast’.

“We have received funding through the Recreational Fishing Trusts Fund and NSW Department of Primary Industries to deliver this project with a citizen-science focus,” Dr Tout-Lyon said.

“This will be a great chance for the local fishing community to gather to hear about local science happening in their local estuary.

“I will introduce a future project led by Charles Sturt University due to start later this year in the Hastings where everyday people will have the chance to participate as citizen scientists.

“We are looking to get local fishers to collect water samples from the Hastings estuary so we can detect fish species using environmental DNA or eDNA methods.”

Dr Tout-Lyon is also interested in engaging with local people to better understand diverse knowledges and ways of knowing ecological interactions and functions in the Hastings estuary.

“The project will also be seeking responses from local anglers about the fish species that are important to them and any observations they can recall from the end of the 2019 drought, the ‘Black Summer’ megafires and the recent flood events,” she said.

“Hopefully this event will ignite interest in the community to become involved in driving local projects such as the important work surrounding the restoration of vital fish habitat in the Hastings estuary.

Charles Sturt colleague and Lecturer in Environmental Management Dr Alexandra Knight will speak about ‘Understanding and monitoring mangrove health’.

“Mangrove systems are vital fish nurseries and play an important role in coastal zone protection and sequestering carbon,” Dr Knight said.

“Local mangrove systems are experiencing stress from historical changes to estuaries as well as recent fires and floods.

“Fellow Charles Sturt University scientists, Dr Scott McManus and Ms Jess Leck and I are monitoring mangrove condition in collaboration with OceanWatch and EarthWatch.”

Both are also researchers in the Charles Sturt Gulbali Research Institute of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

They will be joined by Mr Kris Cooling, Fisheries Research and Development Cooperation, speaking about ‘The value of fisheries from an economic and environmental perspective: prawns, blue swimmer crabs, mullet, bream and flathead’.

Attendees are asked to arrive by 5.45pm on Wednesday 24 May before the talks commence at 6pm running until 8pm at the Tacking Point Tavern, 102A Ocean Drive, Port Macquarie NSW.

To attend please register here.

This forum is funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Jessica Tout-Lyon and Dr Alexandra Knight contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or

The Gulbali Institute of Agriculture, Water and Environment is a strategic investment by Charles Sturt University to drive integrated research to optimise farming systems, enhance freshwater ecosystems and improve environmental management, to deliver benefits across Australia and globally.

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Port Macquarie Gulbali Institute Research Sustainability