Canal Rocks Boat Ramp to Remain Open

Update March 21, 2019

Recfishwest are pleased to report that Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has announced that the Canal Rocks boat ramp will remain open for all users!

A fantastic outcome for fishers in the South West

This is a fantastic win for the South West fishing and boating community who worked hard to ensure that an independent risk assessment was undertaken following concerns of the ramps closure in 2017. The report from this assessment recommended the Canal Rocks boat ramp remain open for public use, with ongoing works to improve its safety.

This comes as great news on the eve of some of the best fishing and boating weather in the South West. Fishers spend $2.4 billion on fishing annually, and decisions such as this support access to high quality fishing experiences.

Recfishwest were proud to work alongside the community in their endeavour to ensure this important piece of infrastructure remained open for all.

We look forward to seeing some great catches taken out from Canal Rocks this Autumn.

Read the Ministers announcement here.

Update 31 August 2018:

Recfishwest attended a risk assessment workshop in Busselton today along with members of local fishing clubs and sea rescue groups to provide advice on Canal Rocks boat ramp.

The community advocating against the proposed boat ramp closure

December 14, 2017

Avid followers of our communications would have seen the article published in the November edition of Recfishwest Broadcast outlining the Environment Minister’s plans to close the Canal Rocks boat ramp, located near Yallingup in the states South West.

Although no decision has been made, Recfishwest can report that the following actions have taken place since our last update:

  •  Recfishwest wrote to the Minister in October. We received a response to this letter on December 13.
  •  The Minister has met with representatives from the City of Busselton and has agreed to await a review of the original engineering report that is being conducted by the City.
  •  Recfishwest has lodged a request to obtain the advice the Minister received from Risk Cover which was cited as the reason for closing the ramp.
  • In early December we sent the Minister another letter accompanied with a petition filled out by over 4,000 people.
  • Local member of parliament Libby Mettam presented a grievance in the upper house of parliament.
  • Recfishwest has presented the Minister for Environment and the City of Busselton with an alternative Australian Standard which we believe is more appropriate for open ocean boat ramps.
  • There have been two editorials in the West Australian about this ramp and several letters to the editor proving this is an important issue and with the West Coast Demersal closure finishing on Saturday, December 16 the Minister likely to see what an important asset this ramp is for the community.

Recfishwest will continue to advocate that the boat ramp remains open and will keep our readers informed of any new developments, watch this space.

The South West fishing and boating community worked hard to get their voices heard
Recfishwest were proud to work alongside the community in their endeavour to ensure this important piece of infrastructure remained open for all users

 

Shimano Australia Supporting Sustainable Fishing in the West

Media Announcement 

International industry leaders, Shimano, have teamed up with Recfishwest to become proud Supporting Partners of Recfishwest’s Smartphone App.

Launched by Recfishwest in 2016, Western Australia’s only fishing rules App is free and makes people’s fishing stress free and simpler – all at the touch of a button. Since its release, the App has become a key tool in supporting sustainable fishing and assisting fishers do the right thing.

Leading fishing technologies since 1921, Shimano produces the highest quality fishing products on the market, and now the tackle giant have thrown their support behind Recfishwest and believe the smartphone App plays a vital role in helping people fish for the future.

Managing Director of Shimano Australia Fishing Colin Tanahill said he was proud to align the Shimano brand with that of Recfishwest’s and believes the partnership is important to keeping people fishing.

“Our brand is about getting people out fishing in Australia, and to now partner with WA’s peak body for fishing, Recfishwest, is great for the WA community,” Mr Tanahill said.

“We’ve built our trust over many years, both in Australia and abroad, by providing fishers with the best fishing gear possible but it’s also important to support organisations like Recfishwest who provide the community with more places to fish and more fish to catch!”

“Becoming a Supporting Partner of the Recfishwest App is important to continue the ‘fish for the future’ message, and the more people using the app to understand the rules, the better our fishing will be in years to come.”

“We love what the team at Recfishwest does to help make WA one of the best fishing locations in the world – whether it’s Barra up North or Dhufish down South, our values align with theirs so partnering with them makes sense.”

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland was thrilled to have the Shimano Australia team on board as supporting partners of Recfishwest and our App.

“The Shimano brand has long been associated with trust amongst fishers, with a dedicated mantra to delivering the community with quality gear and supporting quality fishing experiences and with their support we can continue delivering great fishing experiences for all West Aussies,” Dr Rowland said.

“As a not-for-profit organisation it’s important to have partners who believe in our values and align with our vision of ensuring we have safe, sustainable, accessible and enjoyable fishing for the community forever.”

For more about Shimano Australia, click here.

 

Partnering with Recfishwest allows businesses to access one of WA’s most engaged and active communities, some 750,000 fishing West Aussies. Recfishwest have a range of Partnerships that can meet your social and corporate needs from supporting kids and families, to conservation and research, to fishing safety and digital communications. Contact Tim at tim@recfishwest.org.au to find out more.

Solution for Derby Barramundi Resource Sharing

MEDIA RELEASE 30 October 2018

Solution for Derby Barramundi Resource Sharing

  • Fishing sectors work together to achieve positive solution
  • High abundances are critical to high value fishing experiences
  • More Barra left in the water for local and visiting fishers

We welcome the recent announcement from Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, providing improved recreational fishing opportunities off the Derby coast, after the Minister approved the removal of commercial barra netting for King Sound South.

Recfishwest, the local community, WAFIC (Western Australian Fishing Industry Council) and the local commercial Barramundi licence holder have worked together to present this package to Government which resolves conflict between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors.

The issue was not one of sustainability, but rather how the sustainable catch close to town was shared.

High abundances of Barramundi close to the town of Derby are critical for ensuring high value fishing experiences for this iconic Kimberley species.

In an effort to find an outcome which best meets the needs and aspirations of both recreational and commercial interests, Recfishwest and WAFIC conducted a formal mediation process involving community representatives and the commercial fisher in February of this year.

In May, as an outcome of this mediation, Recfishwest and WAFIC finalised a joint proposal to the Minister for Fisheries that proposed a set of agreed principles which included spatial separation between commercial and recreational fishing sectors as a suitable solution.

An important part of this proposal was that the agreed set of principles would be used for determining compensation for any loss incurred by the commercial licence holder, based on historic catch efforts.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland praised all parties involved in negotiating this outcome.

“Today we are pleased to announce that this matter has been resolved in a manner that satisfied all parties, with the use of compensatory funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund,” Dr Rowland said.

“This is the first time that recreational fishing licence money has been used to resolve such a conflict in a specific area and we’re pleased it has been used in this manner that returns benefit to the recreational fishing community.”

This decision sets a precedent for the representational arms of WAFIC and Recfishwest to work with government towards agreed solutions to resource sharing issues.

To read what the Fisheries Minister said, click here.

ENDS

Breaking News – Crab Review

BREAKING NEWS!

A discussion paper release by DPIRD this afternoon calls into question the resilience of crab breeding stocks under current management arrangements and highlights an urgent need to better protect breeding stock.

Recreational fishing surveys since 2011 have clearly shown the blue swimmer crab is far and away the most caught species by fishers around Western Australia.

Particular concerns focus on increasing the protection for mated, pre-spawn female crabs which become highly vulnerable to capture in late autumn, winter and spring.

Recfishwest has held similar concerns for over a decade.

The Department have presented the following options for consideration:
1. Male-only fishery
2. Increase in the Minimum Legal Size (MLS)
3. Reducing fishing effort for all sectors when female crabs are vulnerable to capture
4. Patchwork closures for where female crabs aggregate
5. Broad-scale area closures when females are more vulnerable to capture

Attention is being focussed across the entire resource to ensure all areas of breeding stock vulnerability are addressed and includes all estuaries and ocean fishing for crabs from Perth to Geographe Bay.

In weighing up the options, the Department has identified broad scale seasonal closures (May to Nov) as the most balanced option to achieve the desired objective.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to put forward the community’s views.
Once we have fully digested the discussion paper, we will publish a short online survey, summarising the options and seeking your feedback.

Given that these fisheries account for around 90% of the state’s recreational crab catch, we urge you to have your say.

See the discussion paper summary here: http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/…/public_comme…/fmp288-summary.pdf

Notice of Annual General Meeting of Recfishwest

The Recfishwest 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Tuesday 30 October at the  Fremantle Sailing  Club, 151 Marine Terrace, Fremantle in the State Room commencing at 6.30pm.

At the meeting, members will be asked to:

  • Accept the Minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting
  • Accept the annual report and financial statements
  • Appoint an Auditor
  • Vote on special resolution of the Recfishwest Constitution proposed
  • Vote in the Director Election

Included with this notice are:

  1. The meeting agenda
  2. The minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting
  3. Special resolution of the Recfishwest Constitution (background paper attached)
  4. Candidate’s background information

Click the link below to view the above items:

Final Notice AGM 2018

Important Information – How to Vote in the Director Election

This year, in an effort to facilitate easier voting, Recfishwest is utilising True Vote to independently conduct the ballot.  You will receive your ballot via email from True Vote when the voting opens on Tuesday 23 October.  If you experience any difficulties, please give our office a call and get in touch with one of our helpful team.  If you want to know more about True Vote, please visit www.truevote.com.au.

ONLY financial members are entitled to vote at the AGM, so please renew your membership if required.  We will have contacted you separately if your membership is due to expire before the AGM.

Please RSVP by email to record your attendance or apologies no later than 5pm Friday 26 October 2018 to info@recfishwest.org.au.

Have your Say on Crabs

Media release 29 October 2018

 Crabbing Review to Look After South West Crabs

  • Management needed for better protection of female crabs
  • Perth to Geographe Bay
  • Community to have their say

Recreational fishing surveys since 2011 have consistently shown Blue Swimmer Crabs are far and away the most caught species by fishers around Western Australia.

A discussion paper released by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) on October 25th has called into question the suitability of current management arrangements for Blue Swimmer Crabs on the lower West Coast and highlighted an urgent need to better protect breeding stocks.

The discussion paper highlights a particular concern about the current level of protection provided to mated, pre-spawn female crabs which become highly vulnerable to capture in late autumn, winter and spring. Recfishwest has voiced concerns about the level of protection provided to mated pre-spawn crabs for over a decade.

DPIRD’s discussion paper has considered the following five options for better protecting crab breeding stocks on the lower west coast: :

  1. Male-only fishery
  2. Increase in the Minimum Legal Size (MLS)
  3. Reducing fishing effort for all sectors when female crabs are vulnerable to capture
  4. Patchwork closures for where female crabs aggregate
  5. Broad-scale area closures when females are more vulnerable to capture

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said attention is being focused across the entire lower west coast crab resource to ensure all areas of breeding stock vulnerability are addressed and includes all estuaries and ocean fishing for crabs from Perth to Geographe Bay.

“Our priority here are the crabs and looking after important breeding stock,” Dr Rowland said.

“Blue Swimmer Crabs are the most caught species in WA by rec fishers, so it’s important to balance protection of the stock with great community fishing experiences with access to high abundances of crabs.”

In weighing up the options, the Department has identified broad scale seasonal closures (May to Nov) as the most balanced option to achieve the desired objective.

Recfishwest have developed an online survey asking people how they want their crab fisheries managed and protected into the future and we will continue to represent the communities views  about how they want this important public resource managed.

Given that these fisheries account for around 90% of the state’s recreational crab catch, we urge you to have your say.

Read the Department’s Discussion Paper here.

 

Restoring the Balance: The 1st Step to Bigger Better Crabs

Media Release, 11 October 2018

  • Recfishwest Vision – Bigger Better Crabs for Peel Harvey
  • Minister Prioritises and Protects Family Fishing Experiences
  • The Right Abundances in the Right Places

Recfishwest welcomes today’s announcement from Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, to establish a buyback scheme for commercial fishing licences in the Peel-Harvey Estuary. This announcement honours an important election commitment the McGowan government made to recreational fishers.

The Peel Harvey Estuary is the spiritual home of recreational crabbing with thousands of family’s flocking to Mandurah every year to enjoy the experience of catching their own seafood across the summer months.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell commended the Minister and his actions.

 “Crabbing and fishing in the estuary is the lifeblood of the region and today’s announcement means more Blue Swimmer Crabs and Yellowfin Whiting will be left in the water for fishing families.”

 “Recfishwest have been calling for change to management arrangements in this fishery for over a decade and by honouring their election commitment the McGowan Government are supporting safe, accessible and enjoyable fishing experiences for all West Aussies.”

“The scheme is designed to allocate more Blue Swimmer Crabs and Yellowfin Whiting to recreational fishing families and is a positive first step in bringing big crabs back to the region.” Mr Campbell said.

Recfishwest are happy with the creation of a mechanism allowing recreational fishing licence money to assist with resolving resource reallocation issues. This sets an important and positive precedence for restoring the right balance between commercial and recreational fishing.

Recfishwest looks forward to continuing to work with the Minster and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to ensure greater recreational fishing experiences in the region.

Read Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly’s Media Statement here.

 

What the Demersal Closure Means for Your Fishing

There’s plenty of misconception in the fishing community around the management of our favourite demersal species in the West Coast bioregion. The demersal fishing ban begins on the 15th October and ends on the 15th December so we thought it is worth answering some of the commonly asked questions around the current status of these highly sought-after species.

How does the demersal closure protect spawning fish when many of them don’t spawn during this time?

It’s a common misconception that the demersal closure was implemented to protect demersal fish whilst they are spawning. This is not true. In fact, this closure was implemented to reduce the overall catch of demersal fish by reducing fishing effort during this period. This period represented an adequate balance between achieving biological outcomes whilst having only limited social impact.

Species such as Pink Snapper do spawn during this time; however, they are subject to additional spawning closures in Cockburn and Warnbro sounds.

Dhufish are known to spawn at different times of year in different locations, so a spawning closure for Dhufish is not an effective tool for managing the take of this species.

While some believe the impact on fishers is high, it has been acknowledged that the demersal closure is playing its part in managing the catch of these important demersal species.

Recfishwest advocated raising the Dhufish boat limit last year. Why didn’t you advocate removing the demersal ban instead?

In a nutshell, there was room to catch more Dhufish, but not more Pink Snapper, so the Dhufish boat limit was the most obvious management arrangement to alter in order to provide increased amenity to fishers without impacting on the sustainability of any other species.

Research indicated that the catch of Dhufish was below the target (50% of what people were catching in 2005/06) set by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Recfishwest believed that there was scope to increase the Dhufish boat limit to take pressure off Pink Snapper and Baldchin Groper. Unfortunately, catches of Pink Snapper were right on the 50% target, so any change to the demersal ban as a whole would have had an adverse effect on snapper catches.

Recfishwest is currently awaiting the next stock assessment for west coast demersal species, which will inform any management changes for these species going forward.

I’m catching lots of small Dhufish and Pink Snapper, does this mean we will see a relaxation of rules in the near future?

High abundances of juvenile fish is always a great sign. In the case of Pink Snapper and Dhufish, who live over 40 years old, any recovery of the fishery and therefore relaxation of rules must be underpinned by proper research. Given the slow growth of these fish, it’s important that we see multiple years of good juvenile recruitment before any decision is made on management changes. Right now, it’s important the recreational sector maintain their catches at current levels.

I see people catching and releasing Dhufish, is this recommended practice?

No. Dhufish, as well as other demersal fish, suffer from barotrauma (pictured below). This is caused by the expansion of gasses inside the fish’s organs as it ascends through the water column during capture. You will see the signs of barotrauma such as organs protruding from the fish’s mouth, or the fish’s eyes appearing like they are ‘on stalks’.

Image: Dhufish, as well as other demersal fish, suffer from barotrauma.

Barotrauma significantly reduces the fish’s chance of survival once released, and although methods such as proper handling and the use of a release weight increases the survival rate, the best practice is to keep the Dhufish you intend to take home then fish for other species or move to new ground. Continually fishing the same ground and releasing Dhufish after Dhufish is not recommended practice.

We all love the opening of the West Coast demersal season because it offers plenty of great fishing opportunities for the community. Looking after our fish stocks is our number one priority, and everyone needs to play their role. With good reports of juvenile fish around and people understanding the importance of seasonal closures, there’s no reason why our demersal stocks can’t be great again in the coming years.

 

Esperance Reef 1 Step Closer

We have an exciting update regarding the development of the Esperance artificial reef.

Local Community Champion Graham Cooper with some of the concrete modules set to be deployed off the Esperance coast in October.

The Australian Government’s Department of Environment and Energy have approved the final piece of the process to get the Esperance artificial reef in the water.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland is excited to receive the final approval and says the reef is due to be deployed in October.

“The Esperance community and Recfishwest have been working for many years to make this dream a reality and now we’re past the final step,” Dr Rowland said.

“We’ve had great support from both State and Commonwealth Governments for this project, along with the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission.”

“The local fishing community rolled up their sleeves and teamed up with reef engineers, Subcon, to build their own 128 module, 150 tonne reef, and now to get this final tick of approval means a lot to the community.”

The funding for the Esperance reef comes from the Goldfields-Esperance Regional Grants Scheme, funded by Royalties for Regions and the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund supported by Recfishwest and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The reef will provide families in small boats access to safe fishing experiences close to Bandy Creek Boat Harbour and Wylie Bay, with access to fish species such as Pink and Queen Snapper, Nannygai, Breaksea Cod, Samson Fish, flathead, whiting and tuna.

Commonwealth Marine Parks Finally Settled 

After more than a decade of consultation and countless submissions Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine parks has today finally been settled following the defeat of five disallowance motions in the Senate. It was thanks to the cross bench senators who gave the government the numbers to defeat the disallowance motions 29 votes to 36 and save the 2.3million km2 of marine parks the Greens and Labor wanted to remove. Hopefully all political parties will now leave these management plans in place for the next ten years (as intended) and people can finally have some certainty over how and where we can fish.

Thanks to everyone who provided input and came along with us on this journey over the past decade!