A brighter horizon with recfishing firmly back on the agenda

We were delighted and excited by the Premier’s recent announcement that recfishing is now a supported recreational activity once again. That means so long as we all practise social distancing and good common sense behaviours at the boat ramp, we can all go and wet a line again with the Government’s full support.

Getting the kids off their screens and fishing in dazzling environments like this can only be good for them.

Clearly as far as COVID-19 is concerned, we are not out of the woods yet and while fishing is a recommended activity once again, we do need to keep in mind social distancing needs to be maintained unless with members of your household. That’s 1.5m apart or one person per 4m² so think about how that might work on your boat and continue to avoid crowding at land-based fishing platforms like jetties. Please also continue to be patient and give others plenty of space at boat ramps.

Check out our updated advice about fishing safely during COVID-19

This is great news for the wider community as a whole with fishing providing a much-needed break and a good boost for people’s well-being at this challenging time. It’s also a good opportunity to check in on your fishing mates now that permitted gatherings have been increased from two people up to 10 – as we all know how important time on the water and a good conversation can be for mental health. And of course, for those doing it tough financially, as many West Aussies are now, fishing provides the opportunity to put a healthy meal on the table as well.

We have pushed hard to ensure recfishing does not fall off the agenda and to have fishing singled out by the Premier as a recommended recreational activity shows how important our lifestyle is viewed by the Government. Getting you and your kids off the couch and out and about in your region by the waterside is not only a great option to get some fresh air, but it will also help boost the tackle industry and local businesses that benefit from the $2.4 billion that recfishers spend on fishing every year.

To get that $2.4 billion worth of economic activity on track, we are presenting a plan for a recfishing package to the Minister for Fisheries full of initiatives that will promote recfishing, remove barriers to fishing, enhance current experiences and create new fishing options for all West Australians. We are confident an announcement will be coming on this very soon.

Meanwhile we continue to work on a range of initiatives that will make recfishing even better in WA.

Here’s a reminder of how we’re keeping the boat powering forward.

While regional travel restrictions remain in place, click here for a map to help you plan where you can go fishing in your region.

So let’s get out there and fish for our mental health and well-being, but let’s also continue to be responsible and continue to play our part in preventing the spread of the virus in our community. Thanks for doing the right thing, stay safe and we hope to bring you more positive news in future updates.

Our ongoing commitment to you creating great fishing experiences in WA forever

We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but significantly decreasing COVID-19 daily infection rates in WA would suggest the measures put in place are being effective in ‘flattening the curve’ and protecting our community from the pandemic.

In the last few weeks, it has become abundantly clear how important fishing is for many people’s mental health and wellbeing and to be able to put a meal on the table for those doing it tough right now and their families. With this in mind, it has been heartening to see recfishers play their role in reconsidering fishing trips and carefully adhering to social distancing guidelines at boat ramps and on beaches.

Read our COVID-19 and fishing FAQ if you want to find out more about minimising the risks of infection if you choose to fish. 

Check out Recfishwest’s Mike Minutillo’s top tips for home based activities preparing for when we can fish again restricions-free. 

Working with Government for a great future for recfishing

Recfishwest has been greatly encouraged to have both the Premier and the Fisheries Minister’s offices acknowledge the recfishing community’s adherence to the guidelines and also the important role recfishing will play in the social and economic recovery from COVID-19.

This has opened the door for us to work closely with the Government in developing a package of initiatives that will provide a significant boost to regional and State economies as well as support jobs and community wellbeing. Fishing will offer the opportunity for fishers and their families to get out into the fresh air once again and participate in an activity that offers many mental health and wellbeing benefits, getting people off their couches and kids off their electronic devices and enjoying the beautiful WA environment.

And with international travel looking to be off the agenda for some time, fishing trips and holidays to the wonderful locations throughout WA will be a great option for many to get a much needed break and bring sought after dollars to regional towns and communities.

Popping the flats in Shark Bay – fishing at iconic locations like this will provide a great break for West Aussies and help bring much needed dollars to regional WA. Photo: Tony Tropiano

The Premier and the Government understand well the economic clout of recfishing in this fishing-mad State of ours – West Aussies spending $2.4 billion on recfishing in WA every year. That figure alone will help ensure recfishing will be very much at the fore of plans to get the WA economy and jobs powering up again post-COVID 19.

Keeping the boat powering forward

Recfishwest continues to ‘power the boat forward’ in progressing projects and initiatives that take its purpose forward in providing: “great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever.”  So, while Recfishwest’s office in Hillarys may be closed, the team is working remotely harder than ever to progress new initiatives designed to remove barriers to fishing, enhance current fishing opportunities and create new fishing options for all West Australians once restrictions are lifted.

Recfishwest will be using this time to fast-track a range of initiatives and pushing for the red tape to be slashed to make real advances in:

  • Getting more reefs in the water;
  • Native Australian species stocking to create new freshwater fishing opportunities;
  • More FADs for the Statewide FADs program;
  • Improving land-based fishing access;
  • Supporting WA fishing club flagship tournaments and events;
  • Stocking of a range of great recreational species; and
  • Promoting iconic WA fishing experiences, destinations and local businesses.
A beautiful dolphinfish caught earlier this season from one of the Perth Game Fishing Club’s FADs – we are working hard to get more FADs in the water.

These are just some of the projects that Recfishwest will be throwing all its organizational weight and resources into to make happen, resulting in real, meaningful and multiple beneficial outcomes for West Aussie anglers.

Rest assured, Recfishwest will keep you informed and up to date with progress made in helping deliver these projects. In the meantime, keep you and your family safe and reach out and check in with your fishing mates through social media and virtual meeting technology.

All the staff at Recfishwest join you in looking forward to when we can all get back out there to wet a line restrictions-free.

Recfishwest Welcomes Continued Commitment to Support Safe Fishing as Major Milestone Achieved

Recfishwest welcomes continued commitment to support safe fishing as major milestone achieved.

In a huge achievement for fishing safety in WA, the 50th Angel Ring has recently been installed at high-risk fishing locations across the state and Recfishwest has plans to install plenty more in the coming year. Angel Rings (or Life Rings) are an important piece of public safety equipment and are an effective tool to help save lives, especially amongst rock fishers.

Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said fishing safety developments over the past few years had come on leaps and bounds and this is a milestone for which all involved should be very proud.

“Our commitment to improved safety stems from the fact that we want to see all fishers return safe to their family at the end of a days fishing,” Dr Rowland said.
“There is no better feeling than hearing one of these rings has been used to save a life.”

“Land managers around WA, including Department of Parks and Wildlife, Local Governments and station owners have been tremendous in helping install important safety infrastructure at high risk fishing locations along great expansions of the WA coastline.”

“The roll-out of Angel Rings has been driven by locals on the ground in the regions who want to help keep their community stay safe. These installations not only benefit fishers but all users, visitors and locals alike.”

“We are very pleased to see the McGowan Government support this program, whereby a relatively small amount of funding greatly increases public safety outcomes,” Dr Rowland said.


Recfishwest MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Grose, tim@recfishwest.org.au

If you must fish from rocks, Recfishwest wants fishers to understand the simple rock fishing safety messages:
• Know how to swim – If you can’t swim, fish from the beach
• Wear a Life Jacket –small fishing life jackets, designed for fishing, worn by all safe rock fishers are recommended
• Never fish alone – fish with friends and family
• Observe first, fish later – watch the ocean conditions, the beach is always safer
• Use appropriate safety equipment – if rock fishing, use rock boots, wear light weight clothing, take ropes to tie onto rock bolts, wear a life jacket
• Tell someone your plans – tell your family where you’re fishing and when you’ll be home

There is also no shortage of Free Life Jackets around WA that fishers can hire for the day to ensure they return home safe after a days fishing. To see where you can pick up a free life jacket, visit: https://recfishwest.org.au/rock-fishing-safety/
Fact File:
• In WA alone there have been 26 rock fishing deaths since 2002, despite this, some fishers are still putting themselves at risk of injury or death.
• Currently there are:
– 54 Angel Rings (Life Rings) installed at high risk fishing locations statewide (with another 9 to be installed soon) Current Locations include: Esperance & Surrounds, Albany & Surrounds, Denmark, South West Capes Region, Kalbarri, Quobba Station (9 to be installed), Steep Point, Dirk Hartog Island
– 36 Rock Anchor Points installed for fishers to tie themselves onto have been installed at high risk rock fishing locations on the south coast including: Esperance & Surrounds, Salmon Holes in Albany
– 21 locations have been established between Esperance and Carnarvon where the public can borrow 150 free life jackets.
• Recfishwest, under a contractual arrangement with the WA Department of Fisheries, leads the fishing safety program ‘Fish and Survive’ in WA, which aims to change behaviour of fishing safety through public awareness, promotion and communication of safety, and installation of safety equipment at high risk fishing locations across WA
• The Government has funded the program $140,000/yr for the next three years in a bid to reduce fishing related drownings and incidents.