Spear safe and take out the black-out factor

Nothing beats a day on the water, except, maybe a day under the water. But shallow water blackouts are something everyone needs to be aware of, and whether it’s spearfishing, free diving or snorkelling, shallow water black-outs can happen to anyone at any depth. So if you’re just starting out, or a world-champ spearo, shallow water blackouts are a danger you and your dive buddy need to be prepared for.

There’s no one that knows this better than the members from The Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) who have seen far too many divers lost to black-out (one is too many), while others have been injured from boat strikes, marine attacks and other causes. That’s why the AUF has been working hard to create a number of safety videos aimed to educate and raise awareness among the fishing community about shallow water black-outs.

The videos encourage you to think about and be prepared for:

  • What symptoms to look for with blackouts
  • Knowing your buddy’s dive profile
  • Performing a shallow water black-out rescue

Spearfishing – Shallow Water Blackout Rescue

An important reminder to all Spearfishers – shallow water blackouts can happen to anyone. Be prepared! Spearsafe – an AUF initiative.

Posted by Spearfishing Australia – AUF on Sunday, 13 October 2019

Spearfishing – Emergencies, First Aid & Response

A reminder to all spearfishers – swift action and response saves lives. Now is the time to prepare.Spearsafe – an AUF initiative.This project was made possible with assistance of the RecFishWest's Community Grants Scheme with support from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, and assistance from New South Wales Recreational Fishing Trust. Thanks also to Queensland Police Services for their help with this video.

Posted by Spearfishing Australia – AUF on Monday, 25 November 2019

These videos have the potential to save lives and greatly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities associated with these breath-holding activities.

With an increased number of people in the water, especially as we head into summer, with fishers diving for crays, snorkelling our beautiful reefs and preparing for abalone season, now is the time to educate yourself and help raise awareness among your mates about shallow water black-outs. Share these videos with your friends and help ensure we all come home safe from a day on the water.

For more on spearfishing safety, visit Fish and Survive.

These videos have been created with the assistance of a Recfishwest Community Grant.

Click here to find out more about Recfishwest Community Grants.

Lake Kununurra brimming over with barra

There has been more great news for WA barra fishers with an extra 100,000 juvenile barra released into Lake Kununurra last week and another 100,000 fish released this week, taking the total number of barramundi stocked in the lake since 2013 to more than 850,000.

Getting ready to roll – another batch of barra about to be released into the lake.
Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group member Curt McCartney with a beautiful bronze barra from the lake.

The lake has been quickly establishing itself as a world-class barramundi fishing location and local members of the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking group say fish are averaging more than a metre!

Read more about the Lake Kununurra Barra stocking program here.

Last week’s stocking of 100,000 barra was funded by a

Regional Economic Development (RED) grant and the Broome Aquaculture centre did such a good job in breeding barra they ended up with twice as many fish as they needed! This provided an opportunity for even more fish to be stocked into the lake, but they needed additional funds to transport the extra fish to Kununurra.

Acting quickly from a request by Recfishwest, the Minister for Fisheries approved the use of recreational fishing licence funds to transport and stock the remaining 100,000 fish.

Read the Minister for Fisheries’ media release here. 

The stocking of Lake Kununurra clearly demonstrates how well-planned stocking programs to create amazing fishing experiences can bring enormous benefits to local communities.

Avid local recfisher Curt McCartney has caught and tagged more than 100 barramundi in the Lake and says the big, fat, bronze monsters are often not difficult to find, but can provide a challenge to entice as they’re all so well fed on the lake’s abundant supply of bait fish!

Check out these sounder images showing barramundi schools hanging just off the bottom.  If that doesn’t get barra nuts’ casting arms twitching – we don’t know what will!

You can check an article in The West about Curt cracking 100 tagged barra and the great fishing on offer within the lake here

STOP PRESS! Check out this 1.3 metre barra caught from the lake by barra enthusiast Curt McCartney after this article was originally published! This is just more proof that the barra stocking program is really delivering the goods.

What a monster of a barramundi caught by Curt McCartney, 1.3m of solid Kununurra barra, you beauty!

Recfishers’ Views Sought on Gascoyne Pink Snapper Management Plan

Recfishers are being encouraged  to have their say on a draft pink snapper management recovery plan for the Gascoyne region.

Recfishwest is proud to have worked closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and commercial fishing sector representatives in a joint working group to develop the draft recovery plan.

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne

The development of the recovery plan follows a stock assessment in 2017 that indicated a risk to pink snapper numbers in the region and advocates building on current research and management actions, setting out a recovery ‘road map’ with clear targets and timeframes for recovery of the resource.

Click here to read the draft recovery plan

The draft plan is open for public comment until 5pm on Wednesday 27 November. To have your say, send your comments to matt@recfishwest.org.au.

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne. These highly prized fish provide fantastic opportunity for both local and visiting fishers to tussle with a hard-fighting, yet accessible, sportfish that is also rated highly on the plate.

Pink snapper provide a fantastic fishing opportunity for local and visiting fishers alike

Recfishwest believes it is important to protect the pink snapper breeding stock and supported initial management changes that were introduced following the stock assessment, which included a spawning closure north of Bernier Island. The closure was also supported by 96 per cent of the community.

We applaud the local Carnarvon community for their input on this issue so far. The people of Carnarvon love fishing and genuinely care about healthy fisheries. Local fishers have shown an overwhelming willingness to be part of the solution for recovering the pink snapper fishery.

Click here to read more about the Gascoyne pink snapper recovery so far

Fabulous FADs open up a wealth of sport fishing opportunities

Working in conjunction with local fishing clubs, Recfishwest is developing and deploying a network of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) off the coast of the Perth metro and WA regional centres as part of a three-year trial program.

FADs have been used across Australia and off the coasts of places such as Costa Rica and Hawaii to great effect to enhance sport-fishing opportunities for spectacular-fighting pelagic species such as mahi-mahi (dolphin fish), tuna, billfish and mackerel.

Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, we have developed the trial program working closely with local fishing clubs and have coordinated the production and physical deployment of the FADs.

This is exactly how we believe RFIF funds should be spent – as seed money to test ground-breaking projects such as this, that create great fishing opportunities for which there is high demand and support within the recfishing community.

For those who might not be familiar with the concept, FADs are essentially large floats anchored to the seafloor in open water, where they aggregate schools of baitfish, which in turn draw sizeable aggregations of pelagic species.

This creates spectacular sport-fishing opportunities for boat fishers – to get a flavor of just how good the fishing can be – check out this sensational footage filmed by Luke Ryan of TackleWest on the existing metro FADs.

If you’ve got a medium-size or larger boat (or even a tinnie if you’re in Broome!) sensational fishing like this could be accessible to you in the locations below.

*Once the FADs for each location are deployed, the exact GPS coordinates will be updated on our website.

Metro

Expected time of deployment: Deployed (GPS coordinates up to date)
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Two additional FADs going in West of Rottnest in addition to existing Perth Game Fishing Club FADs as well as four FADs for to be deployed further north, which can be accessed by boats launching out of northern metro ramps.

Perth FAD Coords with map

Albany

Expected time of deployment: Deployed (GPS coordinates up to date)
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs in the more temperate waters off Albany, they could potentially draw species like yellowtail kingfish. First time recreational fishing FADS have ever been deployed off Albany.

Albany FAD Coords with maps

Cape Naturaliste

Expected time of deployment: Deployed (GPS coordinates up to date)
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs for the first time off the cape in an area where the Leeuwen current flows – we’re expecting to see good aggregations of mahi-mahi here.

Cape Naturaliste FAD Coords with map

Geraldton

Expected time of deployment: Feb/March 2020
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing three FADs West of the Abrolhos and one in closer to shore. Out-wide you can expect mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna and marlin, while mahi-mahi and mackerel could be the go along the FAD that is closer to shore.

Geraldton FAD Coords with maps

Exmouth

Expected time of deployment: Feb/March 2020.
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs west of Ningaloo Reef. We are expecting good numbers of mahi-mahi, along with the possibility of wahoo and various species of tuna and billfish.

Exmouth FAD Coords with map

Broome

Expected time of deployment: Feb/March 2020
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Fishing for mackerel and big trevallies could be accessible to even small boat owners.

BROOME FAD Coords with map

FADtastic fishing for the future

It’s been a long journey and we’ve had to wade through a mess of red tape and push hard uphill all the way, but finally we’re here.

We’re really excited to be able to deliver this trial program, build our understanding and expertise in this space and be in a stronger position to source future investment in FADs from recfishing licence money and potentially industry sponsors.

So once they’re in, get out there and have a crack – we’re sure you’ll quickly become a FAD fanatic if you’re not already!

Check out what Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland had to say about the FAD rollout here:

 

FAD Coords all locations

Things to consider when fishing on FADs

Charter Boat Crayfishing Changes to Promote WA Cray Tourism

In good news for recreational fishers, especially those who don’t have the means to catch a feed of crays, such as  non-boat owners, young children, families, the elderly or people with disabilities, there is now a new option to jump on a charter boat and experience catching a west Aussie icon that thousands of other recfishers get to experience.

Recfishwest believe the Charter sector can play a significant role in increasing the accessibility of crayfish to the WA public who want to catch their own. Being larger vessels, charter boats will fish in different areas than those fishing for crays in smaller trailer boats around inshore reefs.

Marine Tourism WA said: “The new changes will make it easier for national and international tourists to access boat-based Rock Lobster tours and more importantly provide a great benefit to the local wider community who wish to experience catching Western Australia’s Rock Lobster on a safe and managed platform through the fishing charter sector”.

Read Marine Tourism WA’s media release on these changes here.

 

You can also read the Fisheries Minister Hon Dave Kelly’s media release here.

Recfishwest’s Community Grant Program Round 10 – Applications Now Open

The Recfishwest community grant program is designed to enable community-based groups to undertake projects that provide a benefit to recreational fishing in their local area.

This program directly supports communities to undertake a wide range of projects. To see what was funded through the Recfishwest community grants program in Round 9 click here.

The “snag it tag it” program is  funded through the community grants program

The grants are available to a maximum of $8,000 for each applicant although preference will be given to applications under $5,000. Applications which demonstrate the support of local recreational fishers will rank highly.

This scheme is funded using recreational fishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.

Recfishwest Community Grant Program Application Form – Round 10

Recfishwest Community Grant Program Guidelines – Round 10

Applications open: Friday, 27 September

Applications close: Midnight Friday, 22 November

Ocean Park Aquarium received a grant to go toward two days of diving to clean up Steep Point.

Tagged Barra Caught Seven Years After Original Release in Roebuck Bay

A recent capture of a tagged barra in Dampier Creek near Broome has shown stocking programs can and do pay long-term fishing dividends.

Barramundi being released back in 2012

Steve Chambers from Tackle World Broome recently reported one of his customers had caught a 76cm-long tagged barramundi in Dampier Creek.

The barra was later identified as a stocked fish from a batch of 1,000 barra released in Dampier Creek, Roebuck Bay in 2012 – as part of a stocking program funded by one of our Community Grants – click here for more info about community grants.

At the time of its release on 16 August 2012,  the fish – ‘barra no.1873’ – measured 39.5cm.

It’s great to see this fish, reared by the Broome Aquaculture Centre of Kimberley TAFE, being caught and showing that the released fish are still out there and continuing to provide fishing experiences.

The fish, before their release, were screened for their high health status and were expected to have a great survival rate.

While the fish appears to have been relatively slow-growing, the recapture reflects how much of a long-term investment stocked fish like these are providing benefits to the fishing community a number of years later.

Barramundi being released back in 2012

Taking the Westport Taskforce to Task on its Environmental Credentials Around Cockburn Sound

Last week, the Westport Taskforce released a project update spruiking Westport’s environmental credentials.

Their report contained a number of claims that Recfishwest believe don’t really stack up. Rest assured we will be questioning these claims made by the Taskforce and demanding answers!

Here are some of the dubious claims made by Westport in their latest report.

Westport claims: WA is a global leader in dredging research.

Recfishwest says: This makes it hard to understand why Westport has been unable to say what effect the dredging will have on the marine environment of Cockburn Sound.

Westport claims: Findings of a Westport workshop concluded that modifying the causeway was unlikely to result in meaningful environmental benefits.

Recfishwest says: Interestingly, the CSIRO review which can be found at the back of the following WAMSI report strongly disagreed with the findings of this workshop.

Read WAMSI’s assessment of the impact of the Garden Island Causeway on the marine environment in Cockburn Sound here.

Read the CSIRO review of the report here.

Westport claims: The environment was weighted heavily in the shortlisting process which gave the marine and terrestrial environments 12.7% and 9.1% weightings.

Recfishwest says: The update failed to mention the 18.2% weighting given to capital expenditure and land acquisition, 16.4% given to operations and maintenance costs and 14.5% given to land use compatibility. Economics were openly prioritised in a highly questionable shortlisting process that still lacks transparency and justification.

$$$ put before the environment

The Government is being provided advice that values dollars much, much more than the environment with Westport themselves saying “affordability was considered the most important criterion for the State”. Recfishwest are not anti-development however, we cannot support developments that values dollars more than the environment. To select a port location primarily based on economics without fully understanding how this development will impact on the environment or the experiences that environment provides demonstrates an extremely poor process. A poor process leads to poor advice and the government needs the best advice in order to make the best decisions. There needs to be a full understanding of the environment in order to make the best decisions.

Despite the claims of being environmentally responsible, made by Westport, the fact remains there is not a good enough understanding of how a port development will impact on the marine environment. Way back in 2006, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advised government that if they wanted to progress with the development of an Outer Harbor, there would need to be a whole lot of science to allow a better understanding of the environment. This required science has still to be undertaken, yet Westport are still happy to make recommendations despite critical and fundamental knowledge gaps.

Westport have happily given Deloitte Access Economics $275,000 to estimate trade volumes 50 years into the future yet their lack of environmental investment means they are unable to answer the most basic questions about the impact a port development in Cockburn Sound will have on the marine environment or our fishing experiences.

Governments can only make good decisions when they are provided with good advice and the lack of environmental understanding makes it impossible for Westport to provide the government with good advice.

Read Westport’s project update here.

Seagrass image photo credit: Ozfish Seeds for Snapper Project.

The Community has its say

There are many in the recreational fishing community who like us are watching these developments with alarm given the high stakes involved here – the future of Cockburn Sound’s precious aquatic environment and the quality of the fantastic rec fishing it provides.

We’ve received numerous strong messages from you echoing our concerns on this issue.

Here’s just some of your comments:

“Well done. We cannot let big business think they have the right to do what they want in reach for money, at the expense of the environment,” Fisho’s Friend

“The Government has had years to show they can regenerate seagrass beds after decades of dredging by Cockburn Cement, now it’s time to demonstrate their success across big areas of dredged sea floor!” Michael K

“When the WA Government is openly pushing for an Outer Harbour, how could you expect them to spend money on research to prove how environmentally damaging the dredging will be? Better to say ‘she’ll be right mate’, and push on. Talk about a conflict of interests. If they were serious the research would be done BEFORE the decision on how to proceed. WTF is a farce,” Ray M.

“Way to go recfishwest. Common sense will surely prevail,” Cheryl E

“All very good and valid points. Westport is filled with Kwinana lobbyists, paid consultants, and even property developers. Glad to see Recfishwest stepping up their scrutiny of a process that appears to have had a pre-determined outcome,” Benjamin L

“Great work Recfishwest! Please let us know what position the government takes…I’m sure there will be ramifications come voting time,” Luke D

“Without doubt one of the most important and fragile nursery and breeding grounds for pink snapper and other species of fish on the west coast, yet is continually ignored/pushed aside for political gain and industrial development…” Paul M

One Fishing Door Closes Temporarily, a Heap of Fishing Alternatives Open!

 The West Coast demersal fishing closure begins on 15 October and ends on 15 December to give high-value species like dhuies, pinkies and baldies a break from fishing pressure to help with their ongoing recovery.

But just because you can’t target demersals in the West Coast, doesn’t mean you have to stop fishing for one minute – there are are a plethora of alternative fishing opportunities available while the closure is in effect. Some of these include; crayfish, southern bluefin tuna, squid, freshwater fishing, Samson fish, whiting, estuarine and beach species like flathead, tailor and mulloway. So whether you’re looking for your drag to sing, targeting a new species you’ve never caught before or chase a tasty feed, there’s something out there for you.

Here’s a couple of articles that should give you a few ideas and tips for having a crack at something different this spring/early summer.

https://ilovefishing.com.au/2016/10/26/metro-west-coast-demersal-closure-alternatives/

https://ilovefishing.com.au/2016/11/15/metro-west-coast-demersal-closure-alternatives-part-2/

Catch and release for demersals is not OK

While we await the Department of Regional Development and Primary Industry’s latest stock assessment for West Coast demersal scale fish, it’s important anglers continue to stick to the closure by not fishing for demersals to assist with their ongoing recovery.

This includes not targeting demersals for catch and release purposes as the survival rate for many of these species following their release is not great for a number of reasons including barotrauma, hooking injuries and being knocked off by sharks – all of which impacts on the stocks’ health.

Find out here why targeting demersals for catch and release fishing is not OK.  https://recfishwest.org.au/news/targeting-dhuies-for-catch-release-is-not-okay/

2019 Perth Boat Show – That’s a Wrap!

It was great catching up with hundreds of passionate fishers who took the time to speak to at this year’s Perth boat show.

Operations Lead Ben Carlish talking all things fishing

Recfishwest thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to get to hear the views of many members of our community and industry on all things fishing, with the majority of comments being overwhelmingly positive.

Some of the topics that came up included:

Thanks to all those who took the time to come and chat about the topics and parts of fishing they were concerned about or believed required attention, as well as just talking fishing with us, of course! It certainly got us even more fired up!

We are always keen to hear from fishers so if you have any queries or comments about anything to do with rec fishing – send us an email at info@recfishwest.au

We had 99 entries into the kids’ lures design competition and there were some amazing designs with plenty of new, never-seen-before lure patterns and colours invented by the creative young fishers. We’re hoping to draw a winner soon, who will have their lure printed as a limited edition Halco Laser Pro 120  and the honour of being Recfishwest’s official member’s lure for the year. The winner also gets a tour through the Halco factory in Fremantle, some Halco merch and, of course, a few of their own personally designed lures to share with their friends and family! These lures will be sent out to our Recfishwest members in their annual member packs.

There was plenty to talk about at this year’s Perth Boat Show
Check out last year’s lure design winner!