by Bob Wonders
More than $200,000 will be ‘up for grabs’ when the annual Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo gets under way on May 24.
If this rates as a typical Fraser Island catch, it’s hardly > surprising the expo field reaches its capacity in quick time, Fraser Fishing Expo 2007
The prizes on offer include a brand-new Toyota Hilux four-wheel drive, and entry as always is firmly restricted to 1500 anglers and organisers say the field is ‘filling fast’.
The Toyota 'fleet' heads out during last year's expo, Fraser Fishing Expo 2007
Staged on and adjacent to the island’s pristine Orchid Beach, the popular fishing tournament remains committed to comprehensive care for the local environment.
Earlier this year, over the Australia Day (January 26) long weekend, members of Team Toyota Australia, backed by more than 450 volunteers, engaged in the annual ‘Fraser Island Clean-up in preparation for the event.
Aim of the clean-up was to remove litter and damaging growth, helping to restore and rejuvenate the World Heritage listed island.
More than 20 four-wheel drive clubs assisted.
The volunteers removed more than 40 cubic metres of rubbish, 60 bags of noxious weeds and 3000 or more harmful plants.
Described as Australia’s ‘most popular fishing extravaganza’, this year’s expo is sure to see spirited competition.
Country music star Lee Kernaghan, Australian of the Year and Toyota Ambassador, will cast the first line to officially begin the tournament.
He will also perform on the expo’s opening night.
Since it acquired the naming rights to the expo in 1997, Toyota has maintained close contact with the Queensland State Government and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Extensive programs have been put in place to teach anglers practices aimed at protecting and preserving the world’s largest sand island for future generations.
One of the initiatives is the tournament’s unique ‘Catch, Weigh and Release’ category designed to minimise any impact on the local environment.
This helps the Department of Primary Industries to monitor the growth of various fish species.
Competitors have also been urged to embrace another initiative, that of ‘Minimal Impact Camping’, which has a strong emphasis on recycling, waste reduction and producing an environmentally friendly sewage treatment plant.
This plant uses an aerobic sand filter which provides natural treatment without the need for added chemicals.
There is also a ‘Ban the Bag’ scheme aimed at eliminating harmful plastic bags from the island.
To register for the 2008 Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo, go to www.fraserisland.toyota.com.au
Thumbs up, thumbs down, does that mean Stan Schulz (left) beat former Rugby League star Andrew Ettingshausen in last year's expo?, Fraser Fishing Expo 2007
If happy faces count for anything, this team had a successful '07 expo, Fraser Fishing Expo 2007