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Media profile. Wayne Dredge. 2014 Scholarship winner

Media profile. Wayne Dredge. 2014 Scholarship winner

Wayne Dredge, from Lakes Entrance in Victoria, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Woolworths. He received the award at the organisationʼs prestigious National Conference dinner last night (Thursday) at Crown Perth. Wayne will research various methods of fishing for species such as Gummy Shark and also hopes to assess the environmental outcomes of the techniques on fish stocks and broader environment.

Wayne is a commercial fisherman working in the Commonwealth Southern Shark Fishery and the Tasmanian and Victorian Southern Rock Lobster Fisheries.

As owner/operator of the “Opal Star”, Wayne spends up to eight months a year at sea, with annual harvest averages of around 15 tonne of Southern Rock Lobster and 25 tonne of primarily Gummy Shark. Other catch includes Octopus, some scale-fish and crabs. Wayne would like to study research methods of hook-based fishing compared to gill-net fishing for Gummy Shark, taking into account environmental impact.

“In doing so I wish to compare the efficiency, sustainability and impact on marine mammal interactions of gill-net fishing to hook-fishing as well as identifying which, if any, hook-fishing systems are most likely to be the most successful in our unique Southern Fishing Grounds,” he explains.

Wayne believes there are a number of hurdles to overcome in his industry, including the older generation not seeing a need to evolve and improve practices, as well as the changing community attitudes toward fishing and sustainability.

“I am also concerned by the growing influence from well-funded and well-organized non-government organisations that are exponentially using social media as a device to turn the subject of sustainability to an emotive rather than scientific one. Following my studies, I hope to write articles for magazines and newsletters produced by the various industry associations to provide editorial comment in response to misrepresented news reporting by the mainstream media,” he explains.

Wayne would like to visit Canada, New Zealand and Norway to complete his travels.

Jo-Anne Ruscoe of the FRDC says “Wayne’s project is highly relevant with the whole of the fishing industry increasingly focused on demonstrating environmental stewardship to the community. FRDC has seen how the Nuffield program makes it possible for people to pursue their ideas and develop relationships across industries, value chains, regions and beyond Australia’s borders. This exposure helps foster innovative thinkers and ‘doers,’ such as Wayne, and assists in developing their leadership skills – for FRDC, this is the value we see in being a sponsor,” she concluded.

Nuffield Australia is an organisation providing opportunities to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. In March 2014 we will have one group travelling through Canada, United States (California and Washington DC), Mexico, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, while a second group will tour South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Europe and USA.

Wayne is available for interviews to talk about his planned study.  Mobile: 0409 950 497

A high-resolution photo of Wayne is available for download online in the 2014 Nuffield Scholar gallery

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