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More Than Fishing Fanatics

More Than Fishing Fanatics

Social media has revolutionised fishing on the Gold Coast. With recreational fishers having a virtual social meeting place, it has created a culture of fishing fanatics. Boat Gold Coast had a chat with Peter Ker, the creator of the Facebook community Gold Coast Fishing Fanatics, and learn about a social media phenomenon.


How did the Facebook community of the Gold Coast Fishing Fanatics come about?

Gold Coast Fishing Fanatics (GCFF) was founded in May 2013 out of a desire to meet like-minded locals and to share our fishing experiences and knowledge together.


Who are the Gold Coast fishing fanatics?

GCFF is a fishing community meeting place on Facebook of close to 11,500 people who are passionate about recreational fishing. Members share their experiences, send in photos of their catch, and learn tips on how to improve your catch.


What is the significance of the GCFF in the general Gold Coast fishing community?

GCFF has become a valued part of the general GC fishing community because it is a place where locals can come, see what’s biting and where, maybe pick up some tips along the way, or meet a new friend with similar interests in a friendly environment, and even brag about their catch and get together for a fish.


Why do you think this community has become very popular?

The success of the community is attributed to a few factors. I have worked hard the last couple of years to promote my page to everyone who loves fishing and weed out any unsavoury behaviour to make it a welcoming place, unlike other local pages that target particular socio-economic groups.


What are the top three fish that the GCFF members get excited about?

We get excited about mangrove jack. Recently, barramundi have been regularly appearing and the whole community is buzzing.  Thirdly, the big Jew fish.


What are your community’s top three most popular fishing sites?

Top 3 fishing sites are: Sand Pumping Jetty at The Spit, the underwater pipe from the mainland to South Stradbroke, and Runaway Bay Canals.


How do you regulate the authenticity of the catches captured in photos and posted on your Facebook page?

It is hard to regulate the authenticity or validity of the catches captured in photos and posted on my community page. However, most photos sent in have obvious landmarks in them. We mainly rely on people’s honesty.


Would you say the Gold Coast is a great fishing destination?

Gold Coast is a fishing mecca offering hundreds of kilometres of productive waterways with both fresh and saltwater options. There are also many land-locked small lakes that offer great sports fishing. Considering the great fishing, weather and environment we have to offer fishermen here on the GC, it’s an easy sell! There is room for expansion in the fishing industry here on the GC especially if it is promoted properly overseas.


How has GCFF benefitted the general fishing community on the Gold Coast?

Our community has benefitted the general fishing community by bringing awareness to people’s fishing-related businesses. We also promote responsible fishing that lessens impact on the environment, including catch-and-release fishing. This in turn spreads to a wider community in the hope of lessening the impact recreational fishos have here on the Coast. Our community has evolved in the wider Gold Coast community who don’t fish. For example, news of our page reached England and we did shark fishing filming for Sky UK with Freddie Flintoff and Rob Penn as part of a series. Further, I have liaised with the Gold Coast City Council. Council and I started a pest fish competition with lots of prizes in late March this year. Council provide staff and other resources to help me run the event to make sure it’s a community success.


How has the GCFF page benefitted you personally?

This community has cost me an undisclosed amount of money with no expectations of any monetary reward. Despite this, it has benefitted me in other ways by meeting people I learnt so much about fishing which has made me a much better fisherman. More than that, I have made many good friends.


What is your position on bull sharks?

Bull sharks are to be respected not killed. Respect the shark for the role it plays in the ecosystem. More studies need to be done to understand the bull shark behaviour and numbers before coming to a conclusion on how dangerous they are here on the GC.


Do you provide information or feedback to the DAFF through their Fish Monitoring Program?

From time to time we give information on tagging and participate in other DAFF programs and encourage others to do the same.


Interview by Roselle Tenefrancia

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