Partnership creates hooks program

January 5, 2024 BY

Education: A program is being developed to provide Karen people with information about Victoria’s fishing laws. Photo: SUPPLIED

BENDIGO Community Health Services and the Victorian Fisheries Authority have partnered to create a program that’s seeking to educate Karen people about safe and sustainable fishing practices.

The program looks at issues like the state’s fishing regulations and aims to raise awareness around the experiences of former refugees.

BCHS Refugee Project Worker Nido said fishing is important to Karen people who traditionally engage in the activity for survival rather than recreational reasons.

“In Australia, we have rules around fishing, so Karen people need to know about these rules, such as the need for a fishing licence, the type of fish that can be caught and in which season, plus the sizes and bag limits that can be kept,” he said.

“As new arrivals, Karen people may unintentionally do the wrong things, therefore it’s important to educate the community about these rules.”

Resources in the Karen language are being developed and the program will include in-person training sessions and 20 ‘champions’ who will share what they learn with family and friends.

Victorian Fishing Authority supervising fisheries officer Natashar Wills said it is great to see communities continue to fish when they arrive in Victoria.

“Not only does it allow people an opportunity to enjoy fish for dinner, but it is important for mental health and social inclusion,” she said.

“Many people settle in Victoria from countries that have no rules around fishing.

“By working with community leaders, the VFA can ensure anglers get the right information in culturally sensitive ways.”