Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks: opportunity to achieve ‘something special’ lost if plans not revised to preserve key recfishing access

Recfishwest has strongly urged DBCA and Traditional Owners to revise their marine park plans for the Kimberley’s Buccaneer Archipelago to preserve fishers’ access to the safest and most valued fishing spots and to allow recfishers and Traditional Owners work together to ensure this special place is looked after forever. Continue reading “Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks: opportunity to achieve ‘something special’ lost if plans not revised to preserve key recfishing access”

Proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks public comment period extended to 11 June – Recfishwest urges fishers to have their say

Recfishwest is encouraging fishers to have their say on the proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks before the public comment period ends, after the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) recently extended the deadline to 11 June to allow more time for the preparation of submissions. Continue reading “Proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks public comment period extended to 11 June – Recfishwest urges fishers to have their say”

Help steer the future direction of recfishing in WA

Do you have a legal or financial background and want to help steer the future direction of recfishing in WA?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both these question, Recfishwest is keen to hear from you – we are currently seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from suitable candidates from across WA to be considered for appointment to the Recfishwest Board of Directors.

The role of the Recfishwest Board is to provide governance and strategic leadership to Recfishwest assisting in our purpose of delivering “Great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever” as the State’s peak recreational fishing body.

In line with our Constitution, we are particularly interested in expressions of interest from candidates with legal (commercial law) experience and/or expertise in financial strategy for appointment in November 2020 for a term of two years. Fundamental to your interest should also be an appreciation of, and love for, fishing in Western Australia.

This is a great opportunity to contribute to protecting and enhancing opportunities for WA recfishers and to utilise your skills, knowledge and experience in a forward-thinking organisation.

Use your expertise to help us in our purpose of “creating great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever”.

Recfishwest values diversity. Women and people from culturally diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

The duties of Directors are performed on a voluntary basis. Meetings are held approximately eight times a year, face-to-face or via video conferencing platforms.

Our Remuneration and Nominations Committee will review all expressions and make recommendations to the Recfishwest Board for appointment following our Annual General Meeting on 10 November.

Please lodge your EOI by completing and emailing us the Candidate Statement Form below and attaching an accompanying CV (four pages maximum) to: info@recfishwest.org.au with ‘Expression of Interest – Board Director’ in the subject line. For more information please call Andrew Rowland on 9246 3366 or visit recfishwest.org.au

Candidate Statement Form

EOIs must be received by Sunday, 8 November, 2020.

Canal Rocks boat ramp upgrade launch-ready by ‘end of January’

UPDATE, as at 9 February, 2021: Construction halted from Christmas to mid-January to allow for the existing boating facilities to be used during the peak period. Construction resumed in mid-January, with the ramp set to be opened in April, 2021. 

In welcome news for South West recfishers, the upgraded Canal Rocks boat ramp and jetty near Yallingup will be ‘launch-ready’ by the end of January, according to a joint media release from Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti. Continue reading “Canal Rocks boat ramp upgrade launch-ready by ‘end of January’”

Better management of toxic algal blooms in Swan-Canning river systems needed

For Perth’s legions of crabbing enthusiasts, it is small consolation the Department of Health (DoH) has finally lifted their health advice around consuming fish, crabs and other shellfish from large parts of the Swan-Canning system almost two months since the toxic algae Alexandrium has been detected at levels that warrant a health alert.

For the last six months, many Perth fishers have effectively been hit with a fishing closure in large parts of the middle and lower Swan and Canning rivers due to high levels of the algae.

Starting in mid-December the DoH issued a series of alerts warning people not to eat fish, crabs and shellfish from large sections of first the Swan and then later the Canning as “ingestion of toxins produced by the microscopic algae Alexandrium could produce a type of poisoning known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).”

Simply locking recfishers out of the fishery for months at a time isn’t a good enough management strategy.

While there are still a few crabs around, the prime months for targeting the Swan’s famously big blue swimmer crabs are unfortunately well and truly behind us. This is the second successive year elevated levels of Alexandrium have substantially disrupted summer crabbing activities in what is the metro’s favourite fishing playground – the “jewel in the city’s fishing crown” as WA angling journalist Scott Coghlan recently described it.

In both years, the strategy to manage these algal blooms can be summed up as “monitor algae levels and wait for late autumn rain to come to flush the algae out of the system.” While Recfishwest welcomes all the sampling that has occurred over the last six months, there is a pressing need for management to do more than simply wait for winter rain. Any resource management plan worth its salt must address the needs of its stakeholders – the river is something we should all be able to enjoy and it is simply not good enough that the recfishing community is not able to access a large section of the river during the peak fishing season.

A more proactive approach required

Recfishwest  wants to see a much more proactive approach to the management of the Swan-Canning system with a framework that doesn’t lock us out of the fishery for months at a time – particularly if these blooms are going to become more frequent thanks to environmental change and predicted lower river flows. An open review of the way the sampling results inform the issuing and removal of health warnings needs to take place and a much more defined and transparent set of management actions linked to agreed trigger points for algae levels needs to be developed.

Reopening Cockburn Sound to recreational crabbing

If large parts of the Swan and the Canning River become off limits for crabbing for significant periods of the year, fishers are going to need somewhere they can go and re-opening Cockburn Sound is an obvious option that should be progressed as a matter of priority. We have been told the process to buy-back commercial crab fishing licences in Cockburn Sound following management changes announced in November, is progressing, however, the impact Alexandrium is having on Swan River crabbers provides a compelling reason to fast-track this process.

Blue swimmer crabs are the number one species targeted by recfishers and the Swan-Canning system is one of the State’s most important rec fisheries. Giving recfishers access to crabbing in the Sound again would go some way to offset the loss of access to the Swan and Canning as a result of Alexandrium and would demonstrate a much better management approach than simply praying for rain.

Catching blue swimmer crabs like these provides our kids with a genuine sense of connection to the outstanding natural environment the Swan-Canning supports on their doorstep.
Black bream are just one of the many species recfishers flock to the Swan and Canning rivers to target.