Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund

The funds generated from Western Australia’s Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence and other fishing licences, has provided millions of dollars to fund community-driven projects aimed at enhancing recreational fishing.

These projects provide enhancement to WA’s recreational fishing sector and are an example of recreational fishers working together with the state government to ensure recreational fishing licence money provides benefits to the sector.

The funding will be injected into community initiatives such as habitat enhancement, stock enhancement, research and data collection, including the socio-economic benefits of recreational fishing.

Applications which demonstrate the support of local recreational fishers will be given preference while funding will be provided to projects that are beneficial and cost effective to the recreational fishing community.

All recreational fishing licence fees, including fees from the recreational fishing from boat licence introduced by government in 2010, are credited to the Recreational Fishing Account. The Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) is a component of this account and is administered by Recfishwest, and with input from the Department of Fisheries.

‘Provide funding to enable initiatives, projects and research that are aligned with recreational fishing community priorities and enhance recreational fishing in Western Australia.’

Every year 25% of recreational fishing licence revenue is allocated to the RFIF. After a thorough application process, which involves input from the Department of Fisheries, a prioritised list of projects is presented to the Recfishwest Board which then provide recommendations to the Minister for Fisheries of projects that the recreational fishing community of Western Australia would like to see funded.

RFIF Funded Projects

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016

Connecting Clubs and Communities

Connecting Clubs and Communities

Two part program to build capacity in local fishing organisations to promote sustainable and safe fishing throughout metropolitan and regional WA.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $135,000
  • Start date: 01/02/2017
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Recfishwest

Objectives:

Part 1: delivery of an annual state multiday conference discussing current projects, research, management and other activities relevant to the recreational community.
Part 2: support clubs to adopt and implement outcomes and learnings from the conference to achieve a meaningful and lasting positive contribution towards their community.

Capacity development requirements of fishing organisations will be identified as part of the conference activities.

Young Future Leaders Course

Young Future Leaders Course

This project consisted of three components.

The first component involves running a future leaders course for young people interested in taking on roles in areas such as management, research and advocacy.
The second component involves the granting of bursaries to three future leader graduates to attend the national recreational fishing conference, to be held on the Gold Coast in August 2012.
The third component involves hosting a series of Young Future Leader round table forums.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $118,000
  • Start date: 01/01/2013
  • End date: 01/06/2014
  • Grantee: WA Recreational Sports Fishing Council (Recfishwest)

Objectives:

The first component involves running a future leaders course for young people
interested in taking on roles in areas such as management, research and advocacy.
Recfishwest had previously run two successful future leaders courses, resulting in an
injection of youth capable of taking on these roles.

The second component involves the granting of bursaries to three future leader
graduates to attend the national recreational fishing conference, to be held on the Gold
Coast in August 2012. These travel bursaries would come conditional to an ongoing
commitment to attend the future leader roundtable forums outlined in component
three.

The third component involves hosting a series of Young Future Leader roundtable
forums. These forums would be run every three months, and would allow discussion of
relevant recreational fishing issues with graduates of previous future leader courses.
Recfishwest would seek feedback and input into prominent issues, as well as providing
attendees with education and training on extending their leadership capabilities.

Fishability Capacity Building Project

Fishability Capacity Building Project

The ‘Fishability Capacity Building Project’ is a defined plan for the future growth and development of the program to create additional recreational fishing opportunities for children and adults living with disabilities in our communities in safe and welcoming environments. The project will support the Association’s Strategic Plan 2016 to 2019 and will ensure a structured program model and a sustainable future.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $55,000
  • Start date: 01/11/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Fishability (Fishers with Disabilities Assoc. Inc)

Objectives:

  1. To expand, develop and deliver the Fishability program in WA.
  2. To empower fishers with disabilities and build capacity to enable greater participation in recreational fishing.
  3. To advocate for people with disabilities to have access and inclusion to recreational fishing.

The Association has recently experienced heightened public awareness as a result of media exposure surrounding;
– Fishability Day held at 8 locations (with over 500 people participating and state wide TV coverage) throughout Western Australia in March 2016;
– Recognition as a National Finalist at the National Disability Awards held in Canberra in November 2015 for the development of the Fishability Map;
– Ray Benetti announced as WA Volunteer of the Year 2015
– And more…
To maintain the momentum of development and to satisfy the increase in demand of their programs, a strategic approach to the future growth is imperative to ensure a structured and sustainable Association.

Fisher deployed shark bite‐off video surveys and testing of shark deterrents

Fisher deployed shark bite‐off video surveys and testing of shark deterrents

Rod and line bottom‐fishing surveys with underwater video cameras will be conducted with assistance from experienced local fishers from the Exmouth Game Fishing Club to record shark bite‐offs during recreational fishing.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $27,000
  • Start date: 01/09/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Mr. Jonathan Mitchell – PhD student at The University of Western Australia (UWA)

Objectives:

  1. To work closely with fishers from the Exmouth Game Fishing Club to record shark bite‐offs during recreational fishing.
  2. To identify which shark species are causing bite‐offs during recreational fishing in the NRMP and Exmouth Gulf. This will be measurable from video footage collected during fishing, which will show which shark species are responsible at different sites and different depths.
  3. To understand the behaviour of sharks when interacting with recreational fishing gear and taking fish from hooks. This will be measured by the behavioural data that will be collected from this project, in particular how shark behaviour is influenced by depth, size of the shark, species, and whether there is competition between different individual sharks to consume a hooked fish.
  4. To identify which fish species are taken from hooks by sharks. This will be measured by the analysis of video footage, which will identify which species are consumed from hooks by sharks, and to what extent, and whether certain species are consumed but others left by sharks.
  5. To test the effectiveness of shark deterrents for reducing the occurrence of shark bite‐offs. This will be measurable by comparing the number of shark bite‐offs that occur when two different shark deterrent devices are deployed and when no shark deterrent is deployed (control), under the same fishing conditions.

Rod and line bottom‐fishing surveys with underwater video cameras will be conducted with assistance from experienced local fishers from the Exmouth Game Fishing Club. These surveys will take place at two sites in the NRMP where fishing is permitted (i.e. not in sanctuary zones), which receive high fishing pressure, and have been identified to have high bite‐off rates from previous boat ramp surveys conducted as part of this PhD. The sites will be located close to Tantabiddi (northern section of NRMP) and Coral Bay (southern section of NRMP) boat ramps. At each of these locations, three depths will be systematically sampled – 25 m, 50 m and 100 m, with a depth sounder used to locate these sampling depths. Five replicate surveys will be conducted at each depth interval, with 1.5 km spacing between each replicate to ensure independence and to avoid observing the same individual sharks.

Fishing will occur with three lines in the water for a period of 90 minutes at each replicate site, which will allow enough time for sharks to be attracted to the area of fishing. During this 90 minute period, we will record as many sharks bite‐offs as possible. Fishing will occur with the boat drifting and the engine running, because the engine sound is thought to be an important cue that attracts sharks, when boats frequent similar fishing grounds. All surveys will occur in August/September 2016. All fishing will comply with Department of Fisheries WA and Department of Parks and Wildlife WA research permits, as well as a UWA Animal Ethics permit.

Blue swimmer crab stocking trial

Blue swimmer crab stocking trial

This project is the next step in the development of culture methods for Blue Swimmer Crabs, following on from the initial attempt undertaken in 2015/16. While this trial was a success, and indicated that Blue Swimmer Crabs could be cultured, that methodology needed to be refined to lower costs and increase survival before a larger-scale restocking could be attempted. This project directly addresses those two needs and also the need to develop a staining/marking method to identify cultured individuals and thus meet the DoF guidelines for restocking.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $88,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR)

Objectives:

  1. Develop aquaculture techniques to produce 100,000 larval/juvenile Blue Swimmer Crabs, without the use of live microalgae.
  2. Trial several marking/staining methods for the crabs that will allow the identification of cultured individuals post release.
  3. Determine the survival of the different life stages of larval crabs in culture and investigate whether these can be increased using habitat enrichment during aquaculture.
  4. Assess the survival of different life stages of restocked Blue Swimmer Crabs in the wild.
  5. Use the information above to devise the best way to undertake a large-scale restocking of Blue Swimmer Crabs into estuarine and/or nearshore marine waters in WA.

Crabbing is the most popular recreational fishing activity in Western Australia, with an estimated 900,000 Blue Swimmer Crabs caught by boat fishers alone. The recent closure of this fishery in Cockburn Sound has increased the pressure on nearby systems and thus it is timely that we invest in developing cost-effective aquaculture methods to enable future restocking programs to be conducted to maintain this iconic fishery. The proponents undertook a very preliminary culture attempt in late 2015, as they had access to live microalgae curtesy of the Western School Prawn restocking program. The culture successfully produced 100,000 megalopae (a larval stage) and released almost 4,000 crablets (juvenile crabs) into the Peel-Harvey Estuary. While the culture was a success, further development of the methodology is needed for cost-effective restocking program to be undertaken. The key issues are (i) culturing without live microalgae to reduce the costs of culture (ii) devising a method of marking the restocked crabs and (iii) increasing survival rates in the hatchery and wild to minimise cannibalism and ensure the crabs survive.

Assessing the population dynamics of Threadfin Salmon within Roebuck Bay using community support.

Assessing the population dynamics of Threadfin Salmon within Roebuck Bay using community support.

This project will drive citizen science and empowerment of recreational anglers and Yawuru traditional owners relating to the researching threadfin salmon in Roebuck Bay. The project consists of catching and tagging Threadfin Salmon in Roebuck Bay to better understand the population dynamics and movement of the Threadfin Salmon in Roebuck Bay.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $28,000
  • Start date: 31/12/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: North Regional TAFE

Objectives:

  1. Social cohesion and collaboration between Yawuru traditional owners and recreational anglers around Threadfin Salmon research in Roebuck Bay.
  2. Citizen science and empowerment of recreational anglers and Yawuru traditional owners relating to the researching Threadfin Salmon in Roebuck Bay.
  3. Training Yawuru traditional owners and recreational anglers in the implementation and operation of the project.
  4. Implementation of mark and recapture program using recreational anglers and Yawuru traditional owners. The mark and recapture program will use VIE and dart tags.
  5. Collection of data to better understand the population dynamics and movement of the Threadfin Salmon in Roebuck Bay.
  6. Communication of information to the community and key managers to better inform decisions and understanding of the Threadfin Salmon in Roebuck Bay and contribute to the objectives of the marine park management plan.

Roebuck Bay holds significant importance amongst the Yawuru people the traditional owners and the local recreational fishing community in Broome.

Until 2013 the bay had been commercially fished using gillnets targeting threadfin salmon and other iconic species, and whilst the levels of commercial catch were considered to be sustainable, the level of take severely impacted the catch and experiences for the recreational sector and traditional owners.

Under the Broome Native Title settlement Agreement with Yawuru the Nagulagun Roebuck Bay Marine Park is to be established under joint management between Yawuru and DPAW with Yawuru Rangers undertaking the sea management activities in accordance with the Nagulagun Joint Management Plan.

The Park will be zoned Special Purpose Zone for Conservation and Recreation with two Special Purpose Zones for Cultural Heritage.

Exmouth & Esperance Nearshore Artificial Reefs

Exmouth & Esperance Nearshore Artificial Reefs

Subcon propose to build and install an artificial reef in the gulf of Exmouth in conjunction with MG Kailis and the Shire of Exmouth. The Exmouth Reef installation will give access to some of the demersal species to smaller vessels that operate in the Exmouth gulf fishing area.

The aim of the Esperance Reef Installation is to offer access to reliable fishing structures in the vicinity of the mouth of Bandy Creek Boat Harbour. Good news for fishers, the Esperance artificial reef has received extra funding to double the size of the reef area.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $600,000
  • Start date: 01/12/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd

Objectives:

  1. Stock enhancement of recreationally important species through habitat enhancement.
  2. Improved recreational fishing safety for the community by provision of a convenient nearshore fishing location close to public amenities.
  3. Access and data collection opportunities in recreational fishing by providing a convenient location and known baseline for monitoring of development and improvement.
  4. Increased opportunities to study the biology and ecology of important recreational species.
  5. Extension and promotion of recreational fishing by delivering another exciting offshore reef project in Western Australia, offering significant PR opportunities during mobilisation and deployment.

The concept is construction of a reef close to public boat ramp amenities, namely the Exmouth marina but not within the Kailis fishery, in the 10 – 12 m mark north of the Exmouth Marina that is accessible for everyone and will also have benefits to the areas adjacent to the proposed site.

Further to above, a joint project between Subcon and the SECRFC is also proposed for effective delivery and installation of reefs near Low Rock, in 20m of water depth and at a proposed location approximately 5km from the Bandy Creek boat ramp. An in principal support for the proposed site has been granted by the harbour master. The aim of the Esperance Reef Installation is to offer access to reliable fishing structures in the vicinity of the mouth of Bandy Creek Boat Harbour.

As with other artificial reef projects, the reduced fishing pressure on natural reef structures is also seen as a major benefit to the areas adjacent to the proposed site.

Dampier Artificial Reef

Dampier Artificial Reef

The project aim is to establish an artificial reef close to the town site of Dampier Western Australia.
While this reef will cost more than the RFIF funds allocated, it will allow the City of Karratha with the opportunity to leverage the further funds needed to ensure a reef is installed off Dampier.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $550,000
  • Start date: 30/12/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: City of Karratha

Objectives:

  1. Build capacity of regional communities.
  2. Improve stock enhancement and increase capacity of local fish habitats.
  3. Improve recreational fishing experience.
  4. Increase community capacity building and awareness of issues impacting on local fish stocks.
  5. Grow and develop economic opportunities via the development of tourism “product” for game fish within the Dampier locality.
  6. Management and data collection to assist recreational fishing.
  7. Promotion and communications of recreational fishing and sustainability management
    practices.

The current proposal is to utilise purpose built concrete structures deployed to depths up to 40m. Initial estimates are to build some 20-temple modules that are 5m high and weigh approx. 20t each.

The primary objective of the project is to improve offshore recreational fishing opportunity by creating new fish habitat and providing additional fishing locations. The reef will be designed and located for the benefit of recreational fishing.

The reef will incorporate vertical relief and crypted spaces. The integration of both features means the Reef can permanently recruit sustainable populations of the target species.

Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing for Western Australia

Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing for Western Australia

The overarching aim of this project is to determine the economic value of recreational fishing in Western Australia. This will be achieved by estimating two components of aggregate value - the expenditure made by recreational fishers in fishing activities and the surplus value associated with that expenditure.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $133,000
  • Start date: 01/06/2016
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Economic Research Associates Pty Ltd

Objectives:

Supplementary objectives relate to:

  1. The economic contribution of recreational fishing
  2. The experiential value of recreational fishing
  3. Bioregion and species breakdown of the estimates.

The first objective will be measured by successful estimation of the aggregate expenditure by recreational fishers in Western Australia by major expenditure types, and the documentation of the economic contribution made to the Western Australian economy by virtue of this expenditure.

The second will be measured by structuring an appropriate methodology to determine this value consistent with the survey data and using this to produce estimates of the experiential and catch value of recreational fishing from Western Australian fisheries.

The third will be measured by documenting how the economic data relates to the existing surveys and how both sets of survey data can be investigated at bioregion and species level.

Bringing the Oyster Reefs Back to Oyster Harbour, Albany Phase II: Restoring natural habitat for better fishing.

Bringing the Oyster Reefs Back to Oyster Harbour, Albany Phase II: Restoring natural habitat for better fishing.

This project aims to improve recreational fishing opportunities and long-term community stewardship for marine habitats by engaging the community in restoration activities and restoring 400 m2 of oyster reef habitat in Oyster Harbour, Albany. This is phase two in this project with phase one commencing in 2015.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $150,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: The Nature Conservancy

Objectives:

  1. Develop the long-term vision for shellfish reef restoration in Oyster Harbour and quantifiable milestones to deliver that vision, through environmental assessment, spatial planning and stakeholder consultation.
  2. Measurable outcome: A project and implementation plan (report) developed to guide restoration activities over the long-term (5-10 years).
  3. Conduct pre-and post-construction monitoring to quantify the impact and short-term construction success of shellfish reef restoration.
  4. Measurable outcome: Evaluation report on the success of the shellfish reef construction activities.
  5. Construction of two, 50 m x 4 m shellfish reefs- including deployment of hard substrate and juvenile oysters at a minimum deployment density of 100 oysters/m2.
  6. Measurable outcome: reef successfully installed to design specifications.
  7. The recreational fishing and Albany community activity engaged in activities that contribute to shellfish reef restoration.
  8. Measurable outcome: number of recreational fishing groups, school groups, community groups, etc. engaged in workshops, presentations and monitoring activities associated with the project.
  9. Recreational fishers and the broader Albany community viewed as environmental champions and responsible ocean citizens.
  10. Measurable outcome: Number of media articles which mention Recfishwest/RFIF, recreational fishers, government, project partners and the community in restoration activities.

The benthic habitat of Oyster Harbor was once dominated with extensive bed of the native flat oyster (Ostrea angasi, known as Angasi) which provided food and habitat for recreational fish species such as whiting, bream and snapper. These reefs were lost in the late 1800s, largely as a result of destructive dredge harvesting and changes to the catchment hydrology, sedimentation and pollution (Warnock and Cook 2015-RFIF Phase I report outcome). With water quality significantly improved over the last few decades, the capacity for Oyster Harbour to once again support abundant shellfish reef habitat and produce more fish is now viable.

Targeted stock enhancement of Mulloway in the Perth and lower west coast region

Targeted stock enhancement of Mulloway in the Perth and lower west coast region

This project is seeks to spawn, culture and release Mulloway ((Argyrosomus japonicas)) fingerlings off the West Coast of Western Australia.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $321,736
  • Start date: 01/10/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: West Australian Fish Foundation & the WA Department of Fisheries

Objectives:

  1. Enhancement of Mulloway numbers by the release 100,000 Mulloway from Two Rocks to Busselton.
  2. Monitor the longer term growth and movement of Mulloway through an otolith (ear bone) collection program.
  3. Promotion of enhanced fishing experiences and opportunities stemming from the stocking activities.

Identifying future restocking options for Blue Swimmer Crabs

Identifying future restocking options for Blue Swimmer Crabs

This project will pilot a Blue Swimmer Crab breeding technique similar to techniques used to culture Western School Prawns, in an effort to test the viability of stocking using this culture method.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $52,365
  • Start date: 01/11/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: South Metropolitan TAFE

Objectives:

  1. Summarise Blue Swimmer Crab biology and ecology relevant to the aquaculture of crabs.
  2. Trial and assess producing Blue Swimmer Crabs in aquaculture.
  3. Identify previously successful aquaculture/restocking efforts for Blue Swimmer Crabs and similar species in other parts of the world that may have application in Australia. 4.Release of megalopae (crablets) into suitable habitat if successful.

The project includes collecting broodstock as well as aquaculture trials which will release crablets if successful, into identified suitable habitats.

Re-establishing recreational prawning in the Swan-Canning Estuary

Re-establishing recreational prawning in the Swan-Canning Estuary

This project included the collection, spawning, culturing and release of 2,000,000 (4,000,000 were released) Western School Prawns into the Swan Canning Estuary. It also included a survey of prawn populations and engagement with the community to reconnect with prawning in the estuary. The project was a one year extension of the highly popular Prawn Stocking project which was previously funded through the RFIF. This project builds on the work of a previous Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund Project to pilot the culture and of the Western School Prawn (Metapenaeus dalli) in to the Swan-Canning Estuary and increase interest in prawning via a citizen science/community engagement project.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $151,272
  • Start date: 01/11/2015
  • End date: 01/01/2017
  • Grantee: Western Australian Fish Foundation

Objectives:

  1. Culture and release 2 million juvenile Western School Prawns into the Swan-Canning Estuary in 2015/16. Making the total amount released almost 4 million.
  2. Trial the use of using recreational prawn fishers to provide low cost monitoring of Western School Prawns into the future.
  3. Produce sound, scientific validated low cost information to help inform the management of Western School Prawns in the Swan-Canning Estuary into the future.
  4. Communicate sustainable recreational prawning messages.

Having developed, for the first time, successful aquaculture techniques for this species in the former project, the current project utilised these techniques to release over 4 million hatchery-reared post-larval M. dalli in to the Swan-Canning Estuary. It also produced good-quality data to inform the management of this iconic species, re-engaged community with the prawns and stewardship of the estuary through a citizen science program (Prawn Watch) and developed a refined citizen science monitoring program for M. dalli that could be used in the future.

Between 25th November 2015 and 2nd March 2016, 764 gravid M. dalli (i.e. broodstock) were collected from the estuary and transported to the culture facility where they produced 11.845 million eggs. Of these, 8.368 million (70.6%) were viable and were cultured resulting in the release of 1,991,800 post-larvae into the Swan-Canning Estuary. The collection of broodstock was aided by a University-led monitoring program, resulting in an average of 127 gravid females being collected compared to between 9 and 73 in previous years.

WA State-wide Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) Program

WA State-wide Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) Program

This project seeks to purchase and deploy purpose built FADs in key regional locations in WA using best practice techniques.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $555,000
  • Start date: 01/08/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Recfishwest

Objectives:

  1. Deploy FADs in four regional locations.
  2. Create fishing opportunities tailored to the needs of local fishers.
  3. Creation of opportunity to monitor the Southerly movements of tropical pelagic species.
  4. Building capacity of regional fishing clubs through the management of FADs.
  5. Offers increased year round recreational fishing opportunities and experiences in regional locations.
  6. Shift effort away from vulnerable demersal species.
  7. Provide opportunities to monitor environmental conditions and catch data.

Applications and approvals will be gained for FAD deployments in three locations. Fishing opportunities presented by the FADs, tailored to the needs of local fishers, will also help build capacity in regional fishing clubs through the management of the FAD program.

Nextwave – Future Leaders in Recreational Fishing

Nextwave – Future Leaders in Recreational Fishing

This project will unearth aspiring young leaders within the recreational fishing sector that are willing to contribute to the management, development, communication and extension of recreational fishing in Western Australia. Investing in the development of young passionate and educated leaders will ensure a smooth generational leadership transition and ensure leadership amongst the recreational fishing community remains strong.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $77,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2015
  • End date: 01/07/2017
  • Grantee: Rural Training Initiatives Pty Ltd

Objectives:

  1. Unearth aspiring young leaders within the recreational fishing sector who are willing to contribute to the management, development, communication and extension of recreational fishing in Western Australia.
  2. Expose the next generation of leaders to industry leaders and stakeholders.
  3. Provide opportunities for involvement in management and advocacy.
  4. Provide a pathway to represent Western Australian at a National level.

Rural Training Initiatives, in consultation with Recfishwest, formed a working group involving Rural Training Initiatives staff (Jill Briggs and Rina Cooper), industry consultant (Ian Cartwright) and Recfishwest staff (Matt Gillett and James Florisson).

Nextwave – Young Leaders Program (Nextwave), also known as Nextwave – Future Leaders in Recreational Fishing, was developed with previous Nextwave programs guiding the content development and delivery. Through the reviewing of Nextwave 2013 feedback Nextwave 2016 workshops were adjusted and the Nextwave Program was modified. The project working group also established dates for the project truncating the program delivery to a 4-month period to match the needs of the participants and maximise program impact and participant involvement and activity.

Development and implementation of a Fish Friendly Farms program for Western Australia

Development and implementation of a Fish Friendly Farms program for Western Australia

The Fish Friendly Farms program is designed to inform landholders how to look after and improve fish habitat and in doing so build capacity within the community to undertake activities to improve and protect aquatic habitat.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $88,000
  • Start date: 01/12/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: OzFish Unlimited

Objectives:

  1. Improve landholder/land manager understanding of fish habitat requirements and the impact of land management on fish ecology.
  2. Develop fish friendly farm demonstration properties.
  3. Communicate project outcomes to natural resource management bodies, government and the fishing community.
  4. Encourage rehabilitation of fish habitat to improve native fish communities.
  5. Increase awareness of fish habitat issues within the primary producer communities and demonstrate actions that can be undertaken to minimise off-farm impacts from on-farm activities.
  6. Build capacity within the farming community to assist with the planning and implementation of on-ground works that will benefit the aquatic environment.
  7. Build productive partnerships between farmers, NRM groups and the recreational fishing community.

This program will lead to the creation of long-term partnerships between government and the community that will assist in the adaptive management of aquatic ecosystems for the benefit of future generations.

Mandurah Artificial Reef Installation

Mandurah Artificial Reef Installation

This project includes transporting modules, fabricating deployment equipment and the installation of 30 ten tonne 3m x 3m x 3m locally manufactured reef modules off coast of Mandurah to create the Mandurah artificial reef.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $604,890
  • Start date: 01/08/2015
  • End date: 01/04/2016
  • Grantee: Subcon Pty Ltd

Objectives:

  1. Deployment of artificial reef modules in approved areas in the waters off Mandurah.
  2. Improved recreational fishing opportunities within easy access of existing boat ramps in the Mandurah area.
  3. Be the first artificial reef deployed using 100% recreational fishing licence fees.
  4. Support the development of local artificial reef expertise.
  5. Improved options for tourism and charter fishing.
  6. Increased safer and more accessible fishing opportunities for small boats.
  7. Create 1920 metres cubed of new reef habitat for recreational target species and a range of other marine organisms.

The Mandurah Artificial Reef has been deployed. At a total cost of just over $1.1 million, the reef is the first in Western Australia to be solely paid for by the recreational fishing community. The reefs were funded through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund by recreational fishing licence fees.

The purpose-built reef consists of 30 cubic reinforced concrete modules, arranged in clusters of five modules. Each module is 3m x 3m x 3m, weighs 10 tonnes, has a surface area of 30m2 and has an internal volume of 27m3.

The module design is the same as those used in the south west artificial reefs, being a hollow cube with curved cross braces. The design is aimed to promote upwelling (bringing nutrient rich water from the sea floor to the surface creating phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms, providing the basis for productive food chains) as well as create varied complex spaces and habitats which act as shelter for fish.

The reef is located 9km from shore being easily accessible for boats leaving from the Mandurah Estuary mouth or the Dawesville Cut. In 25m depth the reef is spread across four hectares of barren desert-like seafloor which had little marine life prior to reef deployment.

The deployment of the reefs, announced by the Fisheries Minister, the Honourable Joe Francis MLA, was the last stage of a long community driven process to get the reefs in the water. Both Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club as well as the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) consulted with Recfishwest on reef location with volunteers from MOFSC even dropping cameras to the seafloor to find the ideal site characteristics for the reef.

Strong support also came from local MP and keen fisher, the Honourable Dr Kim Hames. The reef had support from a large amount of stakeholder organisations including the Western Australian Department of Fisheries, City of Mandurah, Tourism WA and the Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation as well as many others.

With the same modules in a similar depth to the successful south west artificial reefs, the Mandurah Artificial Reef is expected to develop into a complex marine habitat supporting a diverse fish community providing fishing opportunities for iconic species such as Pink Snapper, Skippy, Dhufish, Baldchin Groper and Samson Fish. Prior to the deployment of the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs only a dozen fish species were identified at the deployment locations. Three years later over 60 species have called these reefs home. As the Mandurah reef has been constructed from the same modules and placed in a similar depths we are confident the Mandurah reef will experience the same success.

 

It will take surprisingly little time for the new reefs to be inhabited by fish and colonised by algae, sponges and corals. Within two months of deploying the reefs off Dunsborough and Bunbury, pelagic species such as Samson Fish and Skippy were observed on the reefs as well as large amounts of bait holding up in the modules. In only 6 months, large amounts of algae had colonised the modules and demersal fish such as Dhufish were seen on the reefs. In just over a year, coralline algae, sponges and bryozoans appeared on the reefs. Now over 60 different fish species including slower colonisers such as Blue Groper, Octopus and Wobbegongs have been identified on these reefs. To view some of these species and great footage click here.

The Mandurah Artificial Reef is Australian made with the modules being designed by an Australian company called the Haejoo Group, built in WA at MJB industries in Australind, deployed by Perth based company Subcon Ptyltd who used staff and vessels from Total AMS.

The local fishing community has had real ownership of the development of the reef as well as provide expert advice to maximise the fishing opportunities for everyone in the region. There is no doubt that the Mandurah fishing community will grow a sense of stewardship for the reef as it continues to develop.

The reefs will also assist the broader local community by bringing benefits to local businesses and the economy by increased fishing tourism in the Peel Region. The artificial reefs provide not only an opportunity for ecological growth on the modules but also social and economic growth for the community.

Fishability Capacity Building Project: Focusing on support for disengaged children and adults throughout Western Australia

Fishability Capacity Building Project: Focusing on support for disengaged children and adults throughout Western Australia

The inaugural Fishability Day 2016 event was held on Sunday 13 March at eight locations across Western Australia. The inclusive community event was received extremely well and exceeded event organiser’s expectations.The event was offered to any child or adult living with a disability; or the socially disengaged; living with mental concerns or who generally need support to go fishing. The weekend attracted 497 participants,supported by 105 volunteers, 55 community groups and over 150 family and friends.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Start date: 01/09/2015
  • End date: 01/07/2016
  • Grantee: Fishability

Objectives:

  1. Introduction of recreational fishing to people with disabilities with an inclusive pathway to
    ongoing activity.
  2. People with disabilities have a great experience in an inclusive safe and welcoming environment using the event to instil self-confidence; socially interact; develop new skills and gain an appreciation of the environment.
  3. Create awareness to the wider public of Western Australia the benefits of recreational fishing.
  4. Increased awareness of the fishing location portal.
  5. Identify further locations where regular organised activities are conducted.
  6. Build relationships with planners; supporters; Department of Transport; local government and other authorities to advocate for better facilities. 7.
  7. Build relationships with carer organisations.
  8. 10% increase of regular activities; participants; volunteers and carers per annum.
  9. Promotion of community conscience of recreational fishing clubs and fishers generally.
  10. The event will be an opportunity to educate the general public about the importance of nurturing our environment and safe fishing practices eg aligning with initiatives such as the Fishing Line Disposal Bin Project.
  11. Through approach to local Universities and aligned educational programs such as The National Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE), the project will be an opportunity to involve young people in the recreational fishing community who are interested in taking up roles in management, research and advocacy.
  12. Obtain statewide fishing data to verify the information on the online fishing location portal.

The flyer is included as the event was offered to participants at NO cost, ensuring an affordable, accessible and welcoming day.The Fishability Capacity Building Project will focus on the goal to increase participation and provide inclusive community pathways in recreational fishing through two initiatives; establishing new ongoing programs in Geraldton and Busselton and the ‘Fishability Day’ event. The event gave Fishers with Disabilities Assoc. Incorporated (FwDAI) a platform to showcase the Fishability Map, the online portal highlighting suitable locations around Western Australia enabling all recreational fishers to access fishing at safe and suitable locations. In 2014 FwDAI received Recreational Fishing Initiative Funding to map fishing locations in WA suitable for people with disabilities. The objective was to create an online portal which identified recreational fishing locations with accessibility and suitability. This project was completed in 2015 and identified 140 fishing locations.

The Fishability Day project allowed FwDAI’s capacity to continue building their programs whilst promoting use of mapping data. The event locations were identified as primary locations on the Fishability Map, friendly sites which are most likely to be accessible to persons who use a wheelchair. These sites generally have designated disabled parking, disabled toilets close by, and reasonable access and associated facilities for people using wheelchairs.

Koombana Bay Community Recreational Fishing and Crabbing Platform

Koombana Bay Community Recreational Fishing and Crabbing Platform

The construction of a recreational fishing and crabbing platform in the protected waters of Koombana Bay in Bunbury. The key components of the platform will include full disabled access, use of recycled timber from the former jetty, water and power supply, lighting for night use, fish cleaning station, seating and a bike rack.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $52,800
  • Start date: 01/10/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: City of Bunbury

Objectives:

  1. Provision of a safe, accessible fishing and crabbing platform for fishers of all abilities.
  2. Maintain connection to the former Bunbury Jetty through the use of recycled timber salvaged from the Bunbury Jetty.
  3. Install amenities at the new platform that will improve recreational fishing. These amenities will include; Lighting, Fish cleaning station, Water supply, Disabled access, Seating, Bike rack.
  4. Provide a safe and accessible platform for disabled and elderly recreational fishers.
  5. Respond to the demonstrated community need.

Oyster Reefs and shellfish reef restoration

Oyster Reefs and shellfish reef restoration

This project aims to identify and restore oyster reefs as key habitat to support fish production in Oyster Harbour, Albany. It will involve investigation as to the extent of the current remnant natural oyster populations and develop methods to support larger-scale restoration works. This project has leverage matching funding from The Nature Conservancy Australia.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $40,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2015
  • End date:
  • Grantee: The Nature Conservancy

Objectives:

  1. Investigate options for shellfish reef restoration in Oyster Harbour, Albany;
  2. Engage the Albany community in fish habitat restoration activities including on ground works;
  3. Test shellfish reef restoration methods in Oyster Harbour, Albany;
  4. Promote recreational fishers as environmentally aware members of the community; and,
  5. Investigate the extent of the current remnant natural oyster populations in Oyster Harbour.
  6. Identify the priority locations best suited to restoring native shellfish reefs,
  7. Enhance our knowledge of shellfish reef restoration in WA.
  8. Conduct a six month assessment on the growth and survival of the oysters .
  9. Provide a template for similar activities in other systems such as the Swan River.

The underwater environment of Oyster Harbour, Albany, was once dominated with extensive reefs composed primarily of the native flat oyster (Ostrea angasi, known as Angasi). These reefs provided food and habitat for many other species including important fish species such as whiting, bream and snapper whilst also filtering and removing nutrients and particles from the water column. The reefs were largely lost in the late 1800s as a result of overharvesting from commercial wild oyster fishers and their natural recovery has been hampered by changes to the estuary including increased sedimentation, nutrient enrichment, disease and altered water flow.

Today, no oyster reefs exist in Oyster Harbour despite the presence of individual native flat oysters. This is in stark contrast to the condition of the estuary in pre-European times as recorded by the European explorer, George Vancouver, who gave Oyster Harbour its western name. Yet restoration projects in Australia and other parts of the world have demonstrated that shellfish reef restoration is possible and when conducted at scale, has positive environmental, economic and social benefits for local communities.

Developing a Citizen Science culture among WA recreational fishers

Developing a Citizen Science culture among WA recreational fishers

Infofish Australia, in partnership with ANSA WA (Westag), held workshops to determine the long term direction for Citizen Science and tagging programs in Western Australia. The workshop examined the feasibility and desire to coordinate existing projects without compromising the individual ownership or control of data.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $16,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2014
  • End date: 01/05/2015
  • Grantee: Infofish Australia

Objectives:

  1. Provide direction and guidance for future applications of CitizenScience/tagging programs.
  2. Determine the baseline data needs for Citizen science programs Promote and legitimise low cost citizen science data collection.

A Citizen Science approach is gaining worldwide acceptance as a legitimate means of collecting data on natural systems, including fisheries. This is driven by the need to both reduce the cost of monitoring and data collection and increasing stewardship of the resource. Recreational fishers already have a proven track record in Citizen Science through involvement in tagging and providing catch and effort data. In WA there are a number of individual projects that are collecting such data but are uncoordinated, use different technologies, duplicate resources and provide mixed messages to fishers.

The outcomes of the workshop will be able to be used to guide the development of further applications involving the consolidation of Citizen Science, including tagging programs.

Development of a Preliminary Assessment Tool for Determining the Suitability of Water bodies and Aquatic Fauna for Impoundment Stocking.

Development of a Preliminary Assessment Tool for Determining the Suitability of Water bodies and Aquatic Fauna for Impoundment Stocking.

The project aims to develop a risk-assessment based process for investigating the suitability of a water body for the introduction of aquatic fauna, and will provide guidance on the type of fauna which may be best suited to that locality.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $126,138
  • Start date: 01/09/2014
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Indo-Pacific Environmental Pty Ltd

Objectives:

  1. Increasing recreational fishing opportunities.
  2. Increasing the amenity value of a water body.
  3. Providing genetic refuge for fish species.
  4. Attracting economic benefit for regional communities.

Live Transport trailer and Mulloway broodstock collection

Live Transport trailer and Mulloway broodstock collection

This project will involve the collection of broodstock required to enable a large scale future stocking project of mulloway based on the funding of the previous RFIF funded Mulloway Pilot Project. The custom made heavy duty off road broodstock trailer was designed by Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR) staff, made by Platinum Automotives Pty Ltd, via John Webber, and completed during March 2015. Thanks to Cuccovia Design who designed the art work for the stocking trailer.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $62,617
  • Start date: 01/10/2014
  • End date: 01/02/2016
  • Grantee: Western Australian Fish Foundation

Objectives:

  1. Collection of additional mulloway for a future large scale stocking project.
  2. Husbandry and acclimatisation of this broodstock for a further 2 years.
  3. Design and construction of a specialist broodstock trailer to transport large and small broodstock in a large fiberglass tank with integral air and oxygen supplies. Including the provision of power to operate the air supply and an on board generator, which will also operate a water pump for tank water supply on site.
  4. The specialist unit will be housed at ACAAR in Fremantle and will be available for future broodstcock collection and suitable fingerling deliveries to release sites.

The dual axle heavy duty trailer carries a modified commercially available fibreglass tank. The rectangular tank before modification held 1900 litres and with customised rounded ends the capacity was reduced to 1700 Litres. The rounded corners were designed to increase the comfort, and therefore the survival rate of broodstock during transport.

The purpose made ‘conning tower’ means the tank can be filled to the brim, then an inner lid is secured in place , more water added followed by the securing of the upper lid. The conning tower is in the middle of the tank, and is the only part of the water in the tank that can surge. It means there is no surge within the tank as the vehicle accelerates, decelerates or goes around corners. This is better for the fish and the driver and there is no water loss from the tank. The addition of the conning tower negated the need to baffle the tank internally, which would obviously not work for large broodstock up to 15 kg.

The tank lid, conning tower and conning tower lids and fittings were constructed by ACAAR staff in the ACAAR facility from marine ply, fibreglass and insulation foam. The opening in the conning tower is large enough for two people to move large fish in and out in a plastic fish stretcher. The entire tank, including the top structures, are insulated to stabilise water temperatures during a long trip. The Fish Stocking Trailer is fully self-contained with oxygen and air supplies which are mounted at the front on the unit.

The air supply is powered by a 2Kva generator carried in a locked carry box mounted on the A-frame. In addition the unit carries a water pump and hoses for water filling and changes. A submersible pump can be used to flush out the last of the juvenile fish when the trailer is used for restocking, or for delivering juvenile fish to farms.

Pink Snapper egg collection

Pink Snapper egg collection

This project will develop techniques for the collection of fertilised eggs from Cockburn Sound Pink Snapper spawning aggregations and culture of snapper juveniles to release for enhancement. This project will collect fertilised snapper eggs from spawning aggregations, culture these eggs and release fingerlings back into the wild. If successful this concept could be used to smooth out recruitment variability and ensure sustainability.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $112,000
  • Start date: 01/10/2014
  • End date: 01/10/2016
  • Grantee: Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (Challenger Tafe)

Objectives:

  1. Development of techniques to collect and identify fertilised eggs of snapper from Cockburn Sound during the species spawning aggregations.
  2. Culture of wild harvested fertilised eggs and genetic diversity testing of the offspring.
  3. Marking and release of up to 100,000 cultured juvenile snapper into Cockburn Sound nursery areas.
  4. Identify the cost of releasing one million juvenile snapper using the egg collection technique identified in objective

Every year between October & December thousands of adult Pink Snapper aggregate in Cockburn Sound to spawn. In 2014 the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund invested in a project to trial the collection of fertilised Pink Snapper eggs by towing plankton nets around these spawning aggregations. Collected eggs were examined and tested to determine whether the eggs were predominantly Pink Snapper and whether the genetic spread of collected eggs was representative of natural populations.

The objective of the egg collection project was to test if viable fertilised Pink Snapper eggs could be collected from the wild. It was a forward thinking conceptual project that, if successful, might one day be used to assist Pink Snapper recruitment or as a potential means of future proofing fish stocks.

As an innovative egg collection project, funding was focused on research elements rather than any specific stocking component. In the spring of 2015 local aquaculture experts trialled a refined egg collection method and were successful in collecting fertilised Pink Snapper eggs from Cockburn Sound. These eggs were taken back to the local aquaculture facility and successfully hatched.

By continuing to culture these snapper through the most delicate phase of their life cycle and releasing them when they are between 40-50mm, these fish have been given the best chance of survival in the wild.

These fish have been scientifically marked so that scientists and the community can monitor their survival so we can better understand this species in local waters, as well as the importance of Cockburn Sound. The Department of Fisheries have committed research resources to ongoing monitoring activities following the release of these fish.

Snapper Guardians

The original 2016 Pink Snapper release (a Western Australian first) came on the back of the tragic 2015 fish kill in Cockburn Sound, where big breeding Pink Snapper stock were found washed up dead.

Using the juvenile fish that had recently hatched from the previously mentioned egg collection project, Recfishwest made the decision to crowd fund the release of the fish some 8 weeks after the original release date. By continuing to culture these snapper through the most delicate phase of their life cycle and releasing them 8 weeks later when they are between 40-50mm, these fish have been given the best chance of survival in the wild.

To read more about Snapper Guardians, visit our Fish Stocking page here.

Metropolitian offshore artificial reef pelagic fish towers

Metropolitian offshore artificial reef pelagic fish towers

Fishing for Perth metro pelagics has a new breath of new life with the installment of two steel reef towers, which will boost fishing opportunities for fishers. The towers are an addition to the numerous other artificial reef and habitat enhancement projects complete or underway in WA, funded through recreational fishing licence fees.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $853,468
  • Start date: 01/10/2014
  • End date: 04/01/2017
  • Grantee: Subcon

Objectives:

  1.  A first for recreational fishing in Western Australia.
  2.  Support for recreational fishing enterprise in Perth.
  3. Improved options for tourism and fishing charter activities.
  4. Advancement of Perth based Artificial Reef expertise and innovations with export potential.

The reef towers differ from the concrete reef modules currently installed off Dunsborough, Bunbury and Mandurah and those planned for deployment in Esperance, Exmouth and Dampier. The towers are the first steel artificial reef structures in WA, with a different layout and construction to the demersal reefs, and on a much larger vertical scale. Designed by Western Australian artificial reef specialists, Subcon, the purpose built reefs are an impressive 12.5m high or the same size as a four story building!

To add to its height, each reef weighs a massive 70 ton and is 10m long and 7.8m wide. The costly process of reef deployment at sea was also reduced through a new innovative technique that has never been used with this style of artificial reef anywhere in the world. Instead of being loaded onto a barge and lowered using a crane, the large structure was towed out into position and its buoyancy tanks were flooded to safely and cost effectively sink the towers.

The reef towers were specifically designed to not only house demersal fish species but namely to attract an array of pelagic top-water fish in a similar way to FADs. The lattice-like steel upper part of the reef will provide structure and concentrate small baitfish, attracting predatory pelagics. The purpose built design will also allow demersal species to shelter amongst the large base structure with its various shapes, crevasses and vertical profile.

The steel lattice structure provides a complex habitat with variations in temperature, shade and hydrological effects such as current. The curved steel plates on the tower promote upwelling and the surfaces of the structure can be colonised by macro-algae, sponges and corals to favour a variety of different species and higher abundances of fish.

The wide range of habitats influenced by the reef towers will hold a good variety of fish species, with pelagics such as Samson Fish, Yellowtail Kingfish, Salmon, Spanish Mackerel and Tuna all expected to turn up at the reef as well as demersal species such as Pink Snapper, Dhufish and Baldchin Groper. There’s also a good chance of King George Whiting, Skippy, Flathead, Flounder and even Mulloway that are caught in the surrounding areas. All of these species have been encountered on the established South West artificial reefs but other species such as Yellowfin Tuna and Bonito are also expected to make an appearance.

The reef towers were funded using recreational fishing licence fees and are for all recreational fishers to enjoy. Anchoring right on top of reefs should be avoided as it will limit the benefit they can have to all fishers and the chances of your anchor returning. Similar to the South West artificial reefs, some of the best fish are caught around the structure, not right on top of it. Fish can be targeted by casting or trolling around the area and over the top of the reef as well as drifting near the reef location and jigging or drifting weighed baits in a burley trail.

The reef towers are located in “the paddock” between Garden Island and Rottnest Island. The final coordinates have been given as 32ᵒ 07.527′ S, 115ᵒ 27.013′ E for Tower 1 and 32ᵒ 07.461′ S, 115ᵒ 26.978′ E for Tower 2 in 44-45m water depth.ree tower sounder

With huge projects like this, WA is showing the world what can be achieved by passionate fishers who believe in enjoyable, safe, sustainable and accessible fishing experiences for the WA community in the future. This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the WA Department of Fisheries.

Final Installation Coordinates:
(Reef No., Install Date, Latitude Longitude Depth (LAT), Highest Pt)
Reef #1 14/01/2017 @ 0915 -32o07.461 115o26.978 44.5m 32.26m
Reef #2 21/12/2016 @ 1135 -32o07.527 115o27.013 43.7m 31.46m

To read more about Perth Metro’s Artificial Reef towers, click here.

Investigating the impact of recreational fishing on the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.

Investigating the impact of recreational fishing on the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.

This project aims to quantify the health and wellbeing benefits of recreational fishing in Western Australia using a validated questionnaire previously developed and trialled in WA.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Start date: 01/02/2014
  • End date: 01/01/2015
  • Grantee: Curtin University

Objectives:

The value of recreational fishing has traditionally been calculated based on boat sale, the value of the catch and even the amount of tourism generated. It is widely recognised that recreational fishing benefits health and wellbeing but no research, within Australia or internationally, has substantiated evidence based of benefit.

Without further research that substantiates and quantifies benefit to health, recreational fishing is likely to remain undervalued.

This project will also be used to leverage commonwealth funding as the health and wellbeing benefits of recreational fishing has previously been identified as a priority area for research by the FRDC.

Recent changes to commonwealth funding methodology for the recreational fishing sector make this project highly likely to receive matching contributions from the Commonwealth.

Mapping disabled fishing locations

Mapping disabled fishing locations

This project aims to identify, map, classify (e.g. type of disabled fishing; learning impaired, aged impaired, wheelchair, sight impaired etc.) and publicise current sites that are suitable for people with disabilities to conduct recreational fishing activities in WA.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Start date: 01/03/2014
  • End date: 01/03/2015
  • Grantee: Fishers with Disabilities (Now Fishability)

Objectives:

  1. Map of current- accessible, operational sites in WA available on FWD and Recfishwest websites.
  2. Classification of sites by sustainability for various types of disabled fishing and type of fishing activity.
  3. Support text and graphics that describe the location and what can be caught, with links to tides and weather information.
  4. The available facilities at each location, & level of community support available.
  5. Identification of new sites with the potential for recreational fishing for the disabled.
  6. Criteria for identifying new sites and facilities.
  7. A consumer feedback channel on the quality and accessibility of sites and crowd sourcing in respect of potential new sites..

These locations will include shore, jetty, river and lake locations and sites that have potential for development based on criteria to be documented for the purpose of future advocacy.Through the consultation process an increase in local government and wider community awareness of the needs to provide and adequately plan for the provision of disabled fishing facilities will occur.

To check out the Fishability Map, visit the Fishability Website here.

Post graduate scholarship program

Post graduate scholarship program

This project would provide support for Western Australian postgraduate studies focused on recreational fishing projects.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Start date: 01/12/2013
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Western Australian Recreational and Sportfishing Council

Objectives:

  1. Provide cost effective research to benefit the recreational sector.
  2. Engage the community in determine topics for study and communicating findings back to the community.
  3. Build capacity in researchers to recognise the recreational fishing sector.
  4. Provide a funding avenue for research into recreational fishing related topic.

This funding could be used for honours, masters or PhD studies, e.g. (5 x $10,000 honours). The topics of study would be determined after consultation with Recfishwest, Department of Fisheries, local universities and the community. This project would be a pilot program that if successful could form the basis of a permanent Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund scholarship program.

Monitoring and research on landed and released fish during game fishing tournaments and activities in Western Australia

Monitoring and research on landed and released fish during game fishing tournaments and activities in Western Australia

The project will facilitate and conduct monitoring and biological research on billfish, tuna, sharks and other game fish captured and weighed at the major game fishing tournaments in Western Australia, and during normal game fishing club activities. It will also facilitate non-lethal DNA sampling of some of these species.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $134,970
  • Start date: 01/12/2013
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Pepperell Research & Consulting Pty Ltd

Objectives:

  1. The project will initiate and establish a coordinated biological monitoring and sampling program for tournmaent and club-based game fishing oin Western Australia.
  2. This project provides a range of clear benififts to the game fishing sector. It takes advantage of fish brought tot he weigh station by collecting valuable biological data and material from otherwise difficult to access species. It provides important data for the purposes of managment of various species and demonstrates the commitment to assist research in the game fishing sector.
  3. The project demonstrates to the general public and the recreational fishing community the level of cooperation and commitment towards research and knowledge from the game fishing sector.
  4. As well as the benefits from cooperation with other research organizations, a major benifit of the project is in providing hands on training and research projects for students. Many of the student samplers employed in NSW have gone on to careers in marine science or related disciplines, with pepperall research providing .

Initial workshops will be held to train club officials and University students to undertake such work. Two workshops will be held during the initial phase of the project, one in the north of the state and one in the south. The workshops will train selected club officials and student samplers in: Identification of gamefish, correct measuring of fish, sexing of fish, photographing specimens, taking biological samples,data management.

Can recreational fishers provide a cost effective means of monitoring artificial reefs?

Can recreational fishers provide a cost effective means of monitoring artificial reefs?

The project will determine whether the recreational fishers can use underwater video cameras to monitor the colonisation of artificial reefs.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $57,200
  • Start date: 01/12/2013
  • End date: 01/12/2015
  • Grantee: Murdoch University

Objectives:

  1. It will also show how deploying artificial reefs increases the opportunities of recreational fishers to easily target the species they enjoy catching and how long it takes the reefs to be colonised by these species.
  2. In addittion to these primary aims, the project will develop partnerships between recreational fishers and fish biologists that will facilitate discussions on where future reefs and fish aggregating devices should be placed and how to best monitor these systems.
  3. It will also provide recreational fishers with the opportunity to actively contribute to research programs and the biologists with access to important data that would otherwise be difficult and expensive to obtain.

 

Anglers worldwide have long known that the species they are targeting are associated with structure of some kind or another. They have also known that for a long time artificial structures such as sunken ships etc., also attract a wide range of recreationally viable species. More recently particularily in Korea and japan artificial structures have been designed and deployed inorder to attract and hold recreationally viable fish species. The ongoing monitoring of such structures becomes crucial when beginning to determine there effectivness and overall value to the recreational sector. Whilst ongoing monitoring is crucial it can often prove costly, promoting the development of other alternative monitoring pathways. This project will provide recreational fishers with underwater video cameras to collect data showing how artificial reef communities develop and are eventually utilised by recreationally important fishers. The results will be used to determine whether the deployment of underwater video cameras by recreational fishers can provide data that can be used to monitor the sucession ecology of artificial reefs. Hence it will provide a proof of concept trial for a cost effective means for monitoring artificial reef communities. This project will also provide post graduate research opportunities to be focused in Geographe Bay and will engage the community in science on their reef. It will foster the development of a relationship between recreational fishers and biologists that culminates in the development of a cost effective monitoring program for habitat enhancement schemes.

 

Fishing Safety Officer

Fishing Safety Officer

This project would look to employ a fishing safety officer to co-ordinate consistent fishing safety messages across WA. This co-ordination would include liaising with all key stakeholders. The safety messages would be relevant to all forms of fishing including rock fishing, abalone fishing, beach fishing, cliff fishing, spear fishing, and boating. The role of the person in this position would be to coordinate the implementation, education and evaluation of fishing safety strategies developed by Recfishwest and partner organisations.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $250,417
  • Start date: 01/02/2014
  • End date: 01/02/2017
  • Grantee: Western Australian Recreational and Sportfishing Council

Objectives:

  1. Improve awareness of the dangers associated with recreational fishing.
  2. Provide regular safety messages across the state and liaise with all parties to ensure that fishing safety messages are consistent.
  3. Co-ordinate rock fishing safety strategy announced as part of current government policy.
  4. Ensure that there are linkages with national and local fish safety programs.
  5. Co-ordinate with regional representatives to ensure the needs of the local community is addressed.
  6. Improve the penetration of safety messages into the recreational fishing sector.

The implementation of a fishing safety strategy for Western Australia requires the prioritisation of strategies that have been identified as having a high potential to reduce the risk of fishing-related incidents. These proposed strategies fall into two main categories: firstly, public awareness strategies that aim to inform individuals of how to reduce the risk of being involved in an incident and secondly, those that seek to improve the chance of survival (or reduce harm) once an individual has been involved in a fishing-related incident.

Metropolitan Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) deployment

Metropolitan Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) deployment

This project looks to purchase and deploy four purpose built FADs from Okabe Co. Ltd for release in Perth metropolitan waters. These FAD’s would be in addition to two FADs that will be donated by Okabe and would not only strengthen evaluation of the FAD designs it would also relieve competing use pressure at the existing FADs resulting in a safer fishing environment. These FADS are purpose built by a world leading company and would represent a first for Western Australia. Okabe Co Ltd donated one surface FAD and one sub surface FAD. This proposal involves the purchase of an additional four (two surface and two subsurface) FADs. Collection of catch data by fishing clubs will assist in assessing the effectiveness of these FADs.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $160,000
  • Start date: 01/03/2014
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Western Australian Recreational and Sportfishing Council

Objectives:

  1. Enable a more robust assessment of FAD design.
  2. Increase fishing opportunities in Perth metropolitan waters.
  3. Allow year round FAD fishing.
  4. Ease competing resource use at existing FADs.
  5. Provide fishing opportunities closer to shore.
  6. Improve fishing safety by dispersing effort and proximity of fishing activity.
  7. Provide a means of monitoring for the Southerly movement of tropical pelagic species.

The first recoverable FAD in Perth metropolitan waters was launched on 15th November 1997. There are now six FADs deployed in these waters. Currently these FADs are deployed in November of each year and recovered the following May. Frequently some or all FADs are lost during the season, many to ship strikes, others to the ravages of the sea.

The Perth Game Fishing Club has been responsible in a voluntary capacity, for the Rottnest FAD program since the beginning. Operational assistance during that period has come from Challenger Institute of Technology, Fremantle Sailing Club, Royal Perth Yacht Club and volunteers from the PGFC committee & membership. The Rottnest FADs are in water depths from 110m to 230 m requiring up to 600 m of rope for tethering. Collection of catch data by fishing clubs will assist in assessing the effectiveness of these FADs.

Artificial Reef in Mandurah

Artificial Reef in Mandurah

The project will facilitate delivery of a third trial artificial reef in Geographe Bay off Mandurah. The reef will be constructed of the same 3x3m concrete cubes used in the reefs off Bunbury and Busselton and will be of a similar size (30 modules). This will provide quality recreational fishing within easy access of existing boat ramps in the Mandurah area and improved fishing for residents and visitors.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $535,000
  • Start date: 01/09/2013
  • End date: 01/04/2016
  • Grantee: Hamata Pty Ltd.

Objectives:

  1. The initiation of the first independent (non-government) authorised deployment of an oceanic artificial reef in WA.
  2. Improved recreational fishing opportunities within easy access of existing boat ramps in the Mandurah area.
  3. The expansion of the trial artificial reefs deployed in March 2013 which will provide a better understanding of the importance of structure to key recreational fish species in the waters of Geographe Bay.
  4. Allow an improved assessment of reef development in Western Australian waters by providing a third location for study.
  5. Reduce fishing effort on existing fishing grounds by the provision of new fishing areas.

The Mandurah artificial reef was deployed off the coast of Mandurah in April 2016. The Mandurah artificial reef is constructed out of the same purpose-built modules as the South West Artificial Reefs.  Being deployed at a similar depth as the South West Reefs, the new reef will share a similar level of success.  The modules were deployed by a crane barge around 9km from Dawesville Cut and 1km from Five Fathom Bank in a depth range of 24-28m.

The purpose-built reef consists of 30 cubic reinforced concrete modules, arranged in clusters of five modules. Each module is 3m x 3m x 3m, weighs 10 tonnes, has a surface area of 30m2 and has an internal volume of 27m3.

The module design is the same as those used in the Bunbury and Dunsborough artificial reefs, being a hollow cube with curved cross braces. The design is aimed to promote upwelling (bringing nutrient rich water from the sea floor to the surface creating phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms, providing the basis for productive food chains) as well as create varied complex spaces and habitats which act as shelter for fish.

With the same modules in a similar depth to the successful South West artificial reefs, the Mandurah Artificial Reef is already developing into a complex marine habitat supporting a diverse fish community providing fishing opportunities for iconic species such as Pink Snapper, Skippy, Dhufish, Baldchin Groper and Samson Fish.  Prior to the deployment of the Dunsborough and Bunbury artificial reefs only a dozen fish species were identified at the deployment locations. Three years later over 60 species have called these reefs home.  As the Mandurah reef has been constructed from the same modules and placed in a similar depths we are confident the Mandurah reef will experience the same success.

The deployment of the reefs was the last stage of a long community driven process to get the reefs in the water. Both Port Bouvard Recreation and Sporting Club as well as the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) consulted with Recfishwest on reef locations with volunteers from MOFSC even dropping cameras to the seafloor to find the ideal site characteristics for the reef.

The Mandurah Artificial Reef is Australian made with the modules being designed by an Australian company called the Haejoo Group, built in WA at MJB industries in Australind, deployed by Perth based company Subcon Ptyltd who used staff and vessels from Total AMS.

You can read more about the Mandurah Artificial Reef here.

Development of new industry-research partnerships and data collection

Development of new industry-research partnerships and data collection

Investment into the development of new industry-research partnerships and data collection methods to underpin the future management of recreational fisheries. A number of methods to collect recreational fishing information have been identified and commenced by Recfishwest.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $328,000
  • Start date: 01/01/2013
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Western Australian Recreational and Sportfishing Council

Objectives:

  1. Address need for continuous improvement in data collection, community engagement and empowerment.
  2. Develop cost-effective methods to determine recreational catch information.
  3. Enhance and expand the cooperative research relationships between Recfishwest as the peak body, the community and fisheries researchers.
  4. Improve education and extension of research related to recreational fishing including that focused on fish handling, data collection, stock assessments, movement, growth, biology and survival of important recreational species.
  5. See the development of regional recreation fishing information sessions based on current research affecting recreational fishing and fish resources.

These methods vary from quantitative desktop data collection such as the RFIF survey to qualitative fieldwork such as collecting of squid samples and logbook data. Thenext six months of this project should see a lot more media coverage for groups involved with thefirst round of RFIF projects as more results become available. Planning for the 2014 seminars is underway following a review of the 2013 seminars.

The 2015 series will change format to an online seminar to allow thorough promotion (of the RFIF) and visitation through social media, while diversifying and enlarging target audiences. The 2015 RFIF Expressions of Interest have been assessed and the RFIF projects have continues to be promoted and communicated through both social and traditional media.

Growing community engagement by growing prawns

Growing community engagement by growing prawns

This project will attempt to address the decline of the recreational fisher for the Western School Prawn and in doing so engage fishers in the stewardship of the fishery and the Swan and Canning rivers. The project will pilot the production and release of Western School Prawns over a 3 year period and engage fishers through a community prawn watch program. Improving prawn stocks over a short period will make river prawn fishing more accessible to the wider community, facilitating their connection to the river and its health.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $363,000
  • Start date: 01/11/2012
  • End date: 31/10/2015
  • Grantee: Western Australian Fish Foundation

Objectives:

  1. Evaluation of the Swan-Canning Estuary prawn stock and factors affecting the natural recruitment of Western School Prawns.
  2. Evaluation of the costs and benefits of releasing the prawn species in the estuary.
  3. Optimisation of release strategy for the prawns.
  4. Increasing the stewardship of the recreational WSP fishery in the Swan-Canning Estuary.

The first year of this project commenced with little understanding of the biology of the Western School Prawn (WSP) Metapenaeus dalli. The species had not been studied to any great extent with few publications being available about their basic biology. To cover this information shortfall, ACAAR held discussions with a number of experienced prawn producers and researchers. ACAAR commissioned the assistance of CSIRO prawn researcher Dr Greg Coman and brought him to Perth in December 2012 for planning purposes.

Extensive ongoing communications were held with Dr Coman during 2012 and 2013. Other prawn culture experts, such as Tony Charles, the Hatchery Manager from Australian Prawn Farms Ltd in Queensland also visited ACAAR and were consulted at this time. Dr Coman, Mr Charles and others in the prawn aquaculture industry provided significant input into the development of protocols for the culture of the WSP.

All broodstock collection events for the duration of this project were organised by Dr Kerry Trayler of the Swan River Trust utilised staff from the Trust, registered Prawn Watch Program volunteers, and staff from the Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR). Fifty eight gravid broodstock were collected during the first breeding season from December to April, primarily around the areas of the Raffles Hotel in Applecross and Point Walter (See Table 1). From the broodstock collected there were four spawning events, of which three larval rearing attempts were made, only one of which resulted in post-larval prawns.

Blackwood River Black Bream

Blackwood River Black Bream

This project worked to establish whether natural recruitment of Black Bream has occurred and to what extent since the prior stocking event of 2001/02.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $48,850
  • Start date: 01/11/2012
  • End date: 01/11/2013
  • Grantee: Western Australian Fish Foundation

Objectives:

  1. To establish whether natural recruitment of Black Bream has occurred and to what extent.
  2. To update on progress of the 2001/02 year classes of restocked fish.
  3. To update the growth performance of both stocked and wild fish in the estuary.
  4. To provide fisheries manager with up-to-date information as to the status of the black bream population in the Blackwood.
  5. To maintain a community connection to the Blackwood by informing them as to the status of the black bream population in the Blackwood at a post research workshop/forum, and by providing project updates through the media(e.g. newsletters, angling magazines, local newspapers).
  6. Determine effects of river flow regimes on natural recruitment, if any.
  7. Carry out research to establish, if possible, the location and distribution of black bream larvae.

During 2002 and 2003, approximately 220,000 hatchery-reared juveniles of Black Bream were released into the Blackwood River Estuary to replenish the depleted stock of this sparid in this estuary. Ongoing monitoring of the gill net catches of the commercial fisher in this estuary showed that the restocked fish contributed as much as 75% to his catches during 2010 and grew almost as well as wild fish. Furthermore, all surviving cultured fish had attained sexual maturity by 2008, i.e. by six years in age, and were thus potentially able to contribute to future generations of Black Bream in this estuary. The age compositions of the commercial catches in 2010 (which comprised individuals with total lengths > 250 mm) indicated that there had been little natural recruitment of Black Bream (to the legal size) in this estuary since 1999. River conditions in 2011 were not conducive to fishing and as a result the catches by the commercial fisher were low. However, substantial catches were obtained in 2012 and analyses of the age composition of fish caught in that year demonstrated that these catches were dominated by two year classes: the fish that were cultured in 2002 and released in 2003; and by the 2008 year class of wild fish that spawned in the Blackwood River Estuary. As there was very little recruitment of wild fish in the Blackwood between 2001 and 2007, with the dominant mature population of black bream being the restocked fish, it is concluded that the majority of the strong recruitment of the 2008 year 3 class into the fishery represented to a large extent, the product of spawning of the restocked fish that were cultured in 2002 and still in the river in 2008.

Stocking Mulloway

Stocking Mulloway

Mulloway are a large species targeted by both shore based and boat fishers. They were once abundant in the Swan River and along the lower West Coast. Mature West Coast Mulloway were available at the Australian Centre of Applied Aquaculture Research (ACAAR) which were used to breed juvenile Mulloway for stocking purposes in the lower West Coast region.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $280,150
  • Start date: 12/11/2012
  • End date: 01/10/2015
  • Grantee: Western Australian Fish Foundation

Objectives:

  1. To provide information to assist the design of any future Mulloway stock enhancement programs.
  2. To refine hatchery and marking methods for Mulloway.
  3. To test the survival of hatchery reared Mulloway post release.
  4. To assess the genetic composition of Mulloway populations along the West Coast of Western Australia to inform future stock enhancement proposals.
  5. To engage the community using tag and fish frame returns.
  6. Collect catch and catch trend information overtime.

The project produced Mulloway fingerlings that were then stocked into the lower estuary of the Swan River and Owen Anchorage. Stocked fish were dye marked for monitoring purposes and a program will be undertaken to investigate the survival of restocked fish and compare their biological performance with previously collected data for wild fish.

The future research and fishery management strategies for this species will subsequently determine any need for any further restocking requirements. Upon completion a project review and assessment workshop will be held to validate the outcomes and promulgate the findings of the restocking project.

Recreational fishing YouTube Videos

Recreational fishing YouTube Videos

Mad Phil Media will produce 50 You Tube videos for the purpose to promote recreational fishing as a safe, healthy and enjoyable pastime and to educate recreational fishers about sustainability issues concerning certain species.

  • Status: Underway
  • Cost: $110,000
  • Start date: 01/11/2012
  • End date:
  • Grantee: Mad Phil Media

Objectives:

  1. To promote recreational fishing as a safe, healthy and enjoyable pastime.
  2. To educate recreational fishers about sustainability issues concerning certain species.
  3. To inform recreational fishers of accepted practices and customs regarding recreational fishing in Western Australia.

Recfishwest will broadcast the videos on its own YouTube channel as soon as each video is produced as well as through its new website, email distribution list and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Each video will be of 1.5 to 2.5 minutes duration. In addition to the purposes listed above, the videos will serve as a quick reference guide for recreational fishers.

Biological data collection for Black Bream in WA

Biological data collection for Black Bream in WA

The overarching aims of this study were to obtain sound biological data for Black Bream in a range of selected estuaries that would provide the following. 1) Recreational fishers with a clear account of the biological characteristics of Black Bream and how they have become modified over time as environmental conditions changed and 2) the Department of Fisheries with the data that would be relevant for managing Black Bream. In addition, involve the community in a tagging study to elucidate the movement patterns of Black Bream.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $477,315
  • Start date: 01/07/2012
  • End date: 01/12/2015
  • Grantee: Murdoch University

Objectives:

  1. The production of an integrated database for the biological and ecological characteristics of black bream in selected WA estuaries.
  2. Integrate the extensive biological data collected for black bream in Western Australia over several decades by research teams at Universities and the Department of Fisheries.
  3. Collect contemporary biological data for black bream in selected estuaries and compare these with existing data to determine how the biology has changed and the factors involved.
  4. Involve the community in a tagging study to elucidate seasonal patterns of movement.
  5. Explore relationships between relative recruitment strength and key environmental variables.
  6. Produce, for scientists and the community, a book on the biology of black bream in Western Australia.

This project was proposed by Professor Potter of Murdoch University. He appointed Dr Joel Williams to coordinate field and other activities. In addition, Dr Alan Cottingham, Ms Eloise Ashworth and Mr Daniel Yeoh collectively played a crucial role in producing data on the age, growth and reproductive biology in the various estuaries. During the study, the Swan River and Peel-Harvey estuaries were sampled by seine and gill nets in each season between autumn 2013 and summer 2015. The Moore River Estuary, Wellstead Estuary, Wilson Inlet and Culham Inlet were sampled in the autumn and spring of both 2013 and 2014. Although the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet was not included in the original proposal, the opportunity became available to obtain samples from this estuary during the same two years.

Determining the dynamics of WA squid populations through research and recreational fishing.

Determining the dynamics of WA squid populations through research and recreational fishing.

Southern calamari (Sepioteuthis australis) have become an iconic species for recreational fishers in south-western WA. An increased interest in squid fishing over recent years, following a decline in the abundance of scalefish and increased fishing restrictions, and recent advancements in highly specialised and efficient fishing methods has raised questions regarding the sustainability of S. australis stocks on south-western WA. With assistance from the recreational fishers, this project aims to fill knowledge gaps on the biology and provide vitally important data on the stock structure of this species in south-western WA which will act as a benchmark for future reference.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $377,573
  • Start date: 01/12/2012
  • End date: 30/12/2015
  • Grantee: Murdoch University & Curtin University

Objectives:

  1. Assess the importance of Cockburn Sound, a well-known destination for squid fishers, to local stocks of Sepioteuthis australis.
  2. Determine the reproductive cycle of S. australis in south-western WA, and the importance of seagrass meadows as nursery grounds within and around Cockburn Sound.
  3. Validate and determine the age and growth of S. australis in south-western WA, using daily increments in statoliths.
  4. Investigate the interconnectedness of west coast and south coast populations of S. australis.
  5. Develop a collaborative relationship with the recreational fishing community to promote and aid in the progress of this research, through sample collection programs, media exposure and seminars.

The biological characteristics of Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis australis) were investigated across three embayments in south-western Australia: i) Cockburn Sound, ii) Geographe Bay and iii) King George Sound (KGS), all of which are important commercial and/ or recreational fishing grounds for this species. In an Australian-first, a recreational squid fisher sample collection program (‘SEND US YOUR SQUID’) was implemented, which enabled recreational fishers to contribute directly to research. A total of 3312 samples were collected from recreational and commercial fishers and by fishery independent sampling, enabling the determination of previously unknown biological information for Western Australian S. australis populations, including spawning time and duration, age and growth characteristics.
On completion of the project, Project Manager and Researcher Peter Coulson, gave presentations of the final results at the Naturaliste Game and Sports Fishing Club, Albany Boating and Offshore Fishing Club and Mangles Bay Fishing Club in December 2015

Program for providing recreational crabbing information

Program for providing recreational crabbing information

Blue Swimmer Crabs represent one of the most important recreationally fished species in terms of participation rate in southwest Western Australia. This project provides a valuable opportunity for the Department of Fisheries to engage with the local crabbing community to develop ongoing, cost-effective programs to deliver annual information on recreational crabbing and stock dynamics in the recreationally important blue swimmer crab fisheries of the Swan-Canning Estuary, the Leschenault Inlet and Geographe Bay.

  • Status: Completed
  • Cost: $297,560
  • Start date: 01/06/2012
  • End date: 30/06/2016
  • Grantee: The Western Australian Department of Fisheries

Objectives:

  1. To establish a program for providing recreational crabbing information by implementing a Recreational Angler Program daily logbook.
  2. Develop methods for the ongoing assessment of blue swimmer crab recruitment and breeding stock.
  3. Determine the effectiveness of tagging methods to provide information on the movement of blue swimmer crabs that occur between the Swan-Canning Estuary, Leschenault Estuary and Geographe Bay and their adjacent marine environments.

Fishing for blue swimmer crabs is an iconic Western Australian recreational fishing experience. The Department of Fisheries, Western Australia (DoF) is responsible for the sustainable management of the state’s blue swimmer crab resource, and receives considerable information from fisheries with a commercial sector such as Cockburn Sound and the Peel-Harvey Estuary. However, the resourceintensive nature of recreational fishing surveys means the same level of information is not always available for recreational-only crab fisheries. The Southwest Recreational Crabbing Project (SWRCP) provided a valuable opportunity for DoF to engage with local crabbing communities to develop ongoing, cost-effective programs that will deliver annual information on recreational crabbing and stock dynamics in the recreationally important blue swimmer crab fisheries of the Swan-Canning Estuary (SCE), the Leschenault Estuary and wider Bunbury area (LE) and Geographe Bay (GB).

The three year project ran from 1st June 2013 to 30th June 2016.