WA Fishers Now Going Digital: Recfishwest App Version 2

The App is available for both iPhone and Android making it the perfect digital companion for recreational fishers, especially those wetting a line in unfamiliar waters.

Fishing new locations can often mean you are unaware of the exact identity of the fish you catch and in turn the rules and regulations for those new species.

The Recfishwest App not only allows you to identify fish through a simple three-step process based on fish shape, tail shape and colour, it then provides the recreational fishing rules for that species. For example, this could be particularly useful when dealing with different types of Emperor species through the Mid-West region.

Using the Recfishwest App, you can correctly identify any fish you catch and find out the exact size and bag limits for the relevant location. All the current recreational fishing rules for WA are in the App, so no matter what species you need to know about, the information is at your fingertips.

Some people wouldn’t have realised this, but by having the App and actively using it when you fish, you’re actually doing your part for sustainability and healthy fish stocks. If the App guides you to release your catch or outlines specific rules for that fish and your fish doesn’t comply, a swift return to the water will ensure you’re not in the wrong and the fish can live to fight another day.

The App will even send you reminders about relevant seasonal openings and closures. This information is available on your device, even when you are out of reception range making it a necessity for recreational fishers. The App will give you confidence in knowing the rules so you can focus on your fishing and best of all, it is completely free.

The app currently rates an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Apple and Google Play stores, and we have been thrilled to hear that the app is assisting fishers out on the water.

We had some positive feedback with some great suggestions to consider for Version 2. We have listened to your recommendations and worked hard to ensure the App remained fresh, up to date and included more information people want to see.

Now we’re proud to bring the community the new and improved second version of the App.  We’ve also provided some FAQ’s below, for some of the issues people are having with downloading the App.

Version 2 of the App Helping You Return You Home Safe!
– My Licence feature
– My Safety Gear feature
– Emergency Contacts
– New Species added
– Improved Fish ID
– 4.5/5 star rating in App & Google Store

In October 2016 we were extremely excited to launch Version 2 of the Recfishwest App. We have added an additional 10 species (with another 30 to be entered in the coming weeks), along with the new ‘My Tools’ feature, that has been designed to ensure that your fishing experiences are the best they can be, all while keeping it free to download. The new ‘My Tools’ feature is the ultimate ‘Fishing Wallet’ allowing you to store all of your licences and safety gear in one convenient location. The reminder notifications of expiry and service dates are the ideal way to keep you on the water with valid licences and safety equipment.

Within the new ‘My Tools’ feature you’ll find My Licences and My Safety Gear. ‘My Licences’ allows you take a photo of your licences and set reminder notifications for when they’re about to expire. It’s not just for your fishing licences either, you can customize your licence list and add your Skippers Ticket, Drivers Licence and Scuba Diving Ticket, for example.

We want peoples fishing experiences to be as stress free as possible and now with this new feature, there’s no need to stress about whether you have a licence or if it’s expired or where it is, simply log it in the App and go fishing!  ‘My Safety Gear’ is another important and helpful feature. Similarly to the licence feature, it allows you to log your safety equipment and set reminder notifications for when your safety gear is about to expire.  This feature is the ultimate safety tool, giving you the confidence that all your safety gear is up to date and in a condition that’s ready to use in case of an emergency! You can log your flares, EPIRB, life jackets, boat service, scuba diving equipment or even your car or trailer service. We want all fishers to return home safe and if this simple tool can help do that, we believe it’s a benefit to the community.

We’ve fixed some fish identification issues people were having, mainly regarding accessing all of the tail shapes. We’ve also tried to clean up some of the colours in the fish ID phase, noting most fish can be multiple colours in its lifecycle and may vary across regions.  We’ve added more information for some fish species e.g. features, habitat, how to catch and over the coming months, we endeavour to have these completed for all the species in the App.

App users will also see banner ads in version 2 of the App. Sponsored ads will not be flashing or flicking or promote products that don’t fit within our sponsorship guidelines. We are always on look out to partner with like-minded organisations to help us make fishing better in WA. If community partners would like to get on board and help make a difference and help put more fish back in the water, sponsor fish habitat projects or educate the next generation of fishers, please contact recfish@recfishwest.org.au

Recfishwest strives for great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever, which is why we have added new features for your convenience. Take the stress out of your fishing and download the app today!

Frequently Asked Questions

My App won’t show pictures? This is a simple fix – the App requires good Wi-Fi connection to download the images to your phone. Simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone.

My App is showing the wrong images and fish names? Just like the above answer – the App requires good Wi-Fi connection to download the images to your phone. Simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone.

I have an Android Phone and most of the App images won’t download? – Android now have put download limits on initial App downloads. So when you download the App not all the images will appear as we had to cut some so you could download the App – but simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone and then you will have all the images.

I still can’t see notifications? – Simple, just update to the new version in the App store or Google Play store. If you are still having an issue delete the App and download the new version.

I can’t find my fish? – First check you’re in the correct bioregion. Then go through the improved Fish ID tool. If you still can’t find a fish, take a photo of it, release it and send the photo and some catch details to the Recfishwest Facebook Page and one of our Research team will get back to you with a fish ID.

 

Pelagic Paradise Deployed Off Perth

In the October 2016 edition of Recfishwest’s Broad Cast we shared an article on the reef towers set to be installed off the Perth coast this summer. Well the news is good and the deployment is running ahead of schedule with one of the towers being installed on December 21, with the second set to be deployed late December.

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

The reef towers differ from the concrete reef frameworks 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, 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 storey building!

To add to its height, each reef weighs a massive 70 tonne and is 10m long and 7.8m wide. The costly process of reef deployment at sea has also been 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 is being towed out into position and its buoyancy tanks will be flooded to safely and cost effectively sink the towers.

The reef towers have been 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 will be located in “the paddock” between Garden Island and Rottnest Island, see map below for coordinates. 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.

 

Artificial Reefs Highlights New Fishing Projects for WA

More Artificial Reefs Highlights New Fishing Projects for WA
– Nine new projects funded from recreational fishing licence money
– New artificial reefs for Exmouth and Esperance plus funding towards an artificial reef for Dampier

Fisheries Minister, Joe Francis, today announced nine new fishing projects funded from recreational fishing licence money through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF). These projects include nearshore artificial reefs to benefit the regional communities of Exmouth and Esperance.  Exmouth and Esperance are set to join Mandurah, Bunbury and Dunsborough as WA’s regional towns to receive an artificial reef. These reefs will provide safe accessible fishing for families in small boats.

The Minister also approved one-third of the funding required for a large offshore artificial reef in Dampier. This funding will allow The City of Karratha to leverage the remaining funding required to see this project come to fruition.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland was thrilled with the announcement by the government which helps ensure WA communities have enjoyable fishing experiences forever.
“The Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) has provided our great state with over $7million of fishing projects that benefit WA fishers while having additional tangible outcomes for fish habitats, the environment and research,” Dr Rowland said.

“We ask WA fishers where they want their licence money spent and artificial reefs continually come out towards the top of the list. Recfishwest will continue to work hard to provide projects like these that improve people’s fishing experience.”
These reefs provide quality fish habitat in areas where people would normally need to travel excessive distances or venture into rough waters.”
“A lot of people are now seeing the great fishing on the existing South West and Mandurah artificial reefs and if we can transfer those great fishing experiences to other regional hubs state-wide, it will be a huge boost for localised tourism as well as a win for fish habitats.


Other projects announced in this RFIF round included:
– A WA first, Blue Swimmer Crab stocking project
– A project to Determine Economic Value of Recreational Fishing in WA
– An extension of the existing Oyster Reef trial in Albany
– A Threadfin Salmon tagging project in Roebuck Bay, involving local fishers
– Fisher deployed shark bite off video survey
– Continued support for Fishability in WA (Fishers with Disabilities)
– A Community project to connect fishing clubs with their communities’

See a project that interests you? Please get in contact with us and we can tell you more.
ENDS
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Fact File:
– The Recreational Fishing Initiative Fund has invested millions of dollars back into rec fishing projects since 2012.
– Purpose built artificial reef structures feature a strong reinforced concrete framework which provides a hard substrate for reef-building organisms and algae to settle on as well as protective structure for fish to hide from predators and aggregate around.
– Artificial reef installations at the other south-west locations (Mandurah, Bunbury, Dunsborough) have already started to see some great results. Check them out here: https://recfishwest.org.au/artificial-reefs/
– This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the WA Department of Fisheries.

Dhufish Boat Limit to Remain at Two

The iconic Dhufish remains a favourite species for West Aussie fishers, as tens of thousands of us hit the water each summer in an attempt to snare one of these magnificent fish. Despite their popularity, concerns have been raised for the sustainability of Dhufish stocks and strict regulations on bag and boat limits have been in place alongside the annual demersal closure to protect recovering stocks.

In the September issue Recfishwest’s Broad Cast, we brought you an update on Recfishwest’s request, on the back of multiple requests from the community, for a review of the boat limit on Dhufish which currently sits at two.

Given the slow growth of this iconic fish, this is not a decision we took lightly, but was prompted after recent anecdotal reports from fishers indicating that the resource was recovering well, including a high abundance of juvenile fish not seen for many years. Current recreational catches are well below the sustainability target level set for an adequate recovery, in fact recreational take had reduced by 62% since 2009 when management was introduced to reduce the catch by half.

We were pleased to report in September that the Department of Fisheries had agreed to review our request once the most recent stock assessment information was available. Unfortunately the full stock assessment for Dhufish has been delayed, and is now expected to be available in mid-2017, however a preliminary assessment of WA Dhufish was undertaken to assist in evaluating potential changes to the boat limit.

In late November, preliminary information from the stock assessment was available and although Recfishwest’s calculations indicated the recreational take will remain below the sustainability target with an increased boat limit to three Dhufish, the assessment indicated that the stock may be recovering more slowly than expected in the northern and metropolitan areas of the West Coast Bioregion.

The Department of Fisheries made the decision that the rate of recovery was not sufficient enough to allow an increase in the boat limit at this time.  This news will be disappointing to some fishers, however, in the face of current uncertainties, Recfishwest does not support a change to rules that may put the recovery of this iconic species at risk. It is important to understand that Recfishwest will only support management changes when there is clear evidence of sufficient Dhufish stock recovery, and with confidence that any changes will not compromise future sustainability.

Additional analysis of the status of WA Dhufish will be completed as part of the full assessment of West Coast demersal scalefish due to be delivered in mid- 2017. This full assessment will include more complex stock assessment analysis than what was possible at the time of the preliminary assessment and will further inform any potential management changes.

The full assessment will also include the results of the third iSurvey due for release later this year and a more detailed examination of the potential impacts of any management changes. Recfishwest’s request will be revisited when the full assessment is available.

The iconic Dhufish story has many twists and turns, particularly in the last decade, but we have come too far to increase the risk to these fish in any way. The stock assessment indicates that current fishing levels are allowing the stock to recover.Ongoing anecdotal reports of high abundances of juvenile fish, particularly in the metro area, are encouraging. The long term forecast indicates sunny skies for Dhuies.

South West Forest Beauty Sets the Stage for Marron Experience

Western Australia’s rugged Jarrah and Karri forests in the South West will once again play host to the almost 11,000 fishers expected to take part in the much-loved marron fishery in January.  It is one of the most uniquely West Australian fisheries, offering the chance to catch a feed of tasty native crustaceans in a superb freshwater setting armed with nothing more than a bag of chook pellets, a pole snare or a drop net.  The 2017 season for our native freshwater crayfish runs from noon on January 8 to noon on February 5.

The short season reflects the challenges in managing this fishery, which continues to face less than optimal environmental conditions.

The waterways Marron inhabit have been impacted by habitat loss, diminishing water quality and falling rainfall in recent years. Recfishwest identified this issue some years ago, and have since been undertaking a project which will help shape future management of this fishery.

The Future Proofing WA’s Iconic Marron Fishery project was funded by the Federal Government through the Fisheries Research Development Corporation and is a partnership between Ecotone Consulting, Department of Fisheries, Murdoch University and Recfishwest. To date, the project has revealed some fascinating insights into the drivers and aspirations of participants.  Community surveys revealed many people view marroning as a great family activity and environmentally rich experience that they were prepared to travel a long way to undertake. For many marron fishers the opportunity to socialise with family and friends is more important than actually catching anything.

Concerns raised about the fishery included the state of the environment, length of the season, level of compliance and lack of facilities at popular locations, with the next part of the project to look at how fishing amenity can be improved through stocking and habitat enhancement of marron.

Marron fishing locations vary from extremely remote to easily accessible depending on how adventurous you are willing or able to be. The natural bush environment in which it occurs makes marroning a great, fun summer activity and the good rains over the 2016 winter should mean the marron will have more water and habitat to move around in this season. This is great news for marroners, after major bushfires played havoc with access to many marron fisheries last summer.

Scooping, snaring and drop netting are all options for marron fishers, enabling the participants to tailor their expedition to their preferences and ability.  A licence is required but marron fishing is affordable and extremely accessible throughout the South West, with no need for expensive gear or a boat, and it is a safe and enjoyable pastime for families with the bonus of a great feed at the end of the day.

For the advanced marroner wanting a real challenge, there are fisheries which are snare-only and these include the Harvey River (upstream of the highway) and Harvey Dam, Big Brook Dam, Glen Mervyn Dam, Waroona Dam and Logue Brook Dam.

Trophy fisheries with different bag and size limits are the Harvey Dam, Waroona Dam and Hutt River.

Click here to find out more about marron on our ILoveFishing website!

Resource Sharing Concerns for Iconic Kimberley Barramundi

For residents of Derby, fishing for Barramundi is an institution.  The iconic Fitzroy River empties into King Sound right on the town’s doorstep, creating the perfect estuarine environment in which to target Barramundi only minutes from the boat ramp. This type of fishing experience has provided local fishers with safe, accessible, sustainable and enjoyable fishing experiences for decades.

Traditionally, local fishers have maintained an excellent relationship with local commercial fishing operators who have chosen to fish further from town in order to maintain equity between commercial and recreational fishers. These types of agreements are pivotal to the harmony of small communities who rely on accessing shared resources, which is why it is disappointing to learn that gillnet fishing for Barramundi has recently started on the doorstep of Derby following the sale of the local commercial licence.

This has created a large amount of conflict in Derby, with local recreational fishers noticing a decline in fishing quality over recent months. Derby-based Mary Island Fishing Club have been attempting to negotiate a resource sharing outcome which would restore the agreement between the community and the previous licence holder. To date, these negotiations have been unsuccessful.

Recfishwest is assisting the club and their community in their endeavour to restore equitable resource sharing for Barramundi in King Sound.

Recfishwest exists to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.

Purple Fly Fishing

This year Recfishwest and Breast Cancer Care WA ran a specialised ‘Purple Fly Fishing’ weekend for clients recovering from breast cancer.  The weekend was held in Manjimup on October 16, 17 and 18 with 19 breast cancer clients, accompanied by support staff from Breast Cancer Care WA, descending on the beautiful surrounds of the South West to partake in a spot of fly fishing.

Funded through a Recfishwest Community Grant, the Purple Fly Fishing weekend aims to offer these women the opportunity to gain a reprieve from the challenges of breast cancer, while also teaching them the art of fly fishing.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the weekend offers participants a hands-on introduction to fly fishing and an opportunity to get outdoors while learning a unique form of fishing that can aid in their recovery.

“This weekend provides the opportunity for women affected by breast cancer to develop friendships and support networks with other participants and hopefully catch a few fish as they learn the basics of fly fishing” Dr Rowland said.

Breast Cancer Care WA Chief Executive Officer Zoe McAlpine said Breast Cancer Care WA are so grateful to Recfishwest for this opportunity to provide a wonderful experience for our clients going through breast cancer.

“The chance to get away for the weekend, learn a new skill in fly fishing and to focus purely on themselves and their journey is so valuable” Mrs McAlpine said.

“This year in Western Australia it is expected that over 1,500 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and we aim to be there to support every person diagnosed – thanks to the generosity of Recfishwest and the community this is made possible.”

Studies have shown that the casting motion of fly fishing, is similar to recovery exercises prescribed for women who’ve undergone surgery or radiation treatment.  In addition to the physical benefits for participants, the gentle casting motion helps to promote soft tissue stretching and improve joint mobility for women recovering from surgery and those managing lymphedema.

Recfishwest has conducted similar fishing clinics in the past (Pink Fly Fishing Clinics) for women affected by breast cancer which has been hugely popular.
Additional Information:

Why purple and fly fishing? Each year in Australia over 13,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and one in eight women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Breast Cancer CareWA is a Western Australian charity that provides personalised emotional, practical and financial support to people affected by breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care WA receive no government funding and their activities are entirely reliant on the generosity of the Western Australian community. They are famous for the charity event Purple Bra Day, raising funds and awareness for breast cancer clients.

For more on Breast Cancer Care WA: http://www.breastcancer.org.au/

Current Management Puts Iconic Mandurah Fishery at Risk

Almost everyone has a story about the time they went fishing in Mandurah. It is a part of being West Australian.  This highly valued waterway provides enjoyable, accessible and safe fishing experiences for locals and visitors alike. It has forever been a summertime escape for families wanting to get out and enjoy what Mandurah has to offer.

Recfishwest exists to protect great fishing experiences for the community forever. We’ve had significant concerns about current management arrangements for commercial Yellowfin Whiting fishing in the Peel Harvey Estuary for some time.

Current commercial catches for Yellowfin Whiting have been allowed to reach record levels, well beyond the threshold set out in the current harvest strategy for finfish in the Peel Harvey Estuary/

Recfishwest was heavily involved in the establishment of the harvest strategy for this fishery. This strategy was put in place to provide the public with confidence that community owned resources are being effectively managed.

Recfishwest and the community were involved in the negotiation and accepted the current catch threshold for this species. This was done in good faith and as a measure to protect the high level of fishing enjoyment a healthy stock provides.  It’s disappointing that commercial catches of Yellowfin Whiting have been allowed to increase by over 250% since 2011. To now see the agreed threshold exceeded by more than double feels like the West Australian community have been robbed.

We believe these catch levels pose a significant risk to the quality of current and future fishing experiences in Mandurah. Fishing for Yellowfin Whiting is a key part of our culture and we are now calling for action to restore the balance.

While we understand the value and role commercial fishing plays in delivering fresh, local seafood to the market, we believe that unconstrained catches in such a small system such as the Peel Harvey Estuary no longer meet community expectations.

If Mandurah is to continue to provide fantastic fishing and we are to genuinely preserve what is so important to the West Australian lifestyle, then the time to act is now.

Recfishwest will be working with the Government to find an outcome that will restore the balance and protect amazing fishing experiences in Mandurah forever.

 

Slow Start to South West Crabbing Season Predicted

A lengthy winter and lower than average water temperature is predicted to cause a slow start to Crabbing this season. The iconic Mandurah crab fishery opened on November 1st, however fishers are not expected to encounter good numbers of legal sized crabs for at least another month.

It is important to recognise that many crabs will still currently be undersize, and that your crabbing efforts may be better spent later in the season. Crabs grow rapidly as water temperatures warm up in late December and January and this is considered the best time to fish for crabs. Whenever you go crabbing remember to always carry a crab gauge and measure the crabs correctly from point to point on the carapace (body) to ensure they are larger than the minimum legal size of 127mm.

Be sure to abide by the personal bag limit of 10 and boat limit of 20 crabs, and a maximum of 10 pots is allowed per person/boat. A Recreational Boat Fishing Licence is required if taking or transporting crabs by boat.

New rules regarding the immediate release of protected crabs are now in effect, meaning that undersize and berried (egg-carrying) crabs must be released as soon as they are caught before resuming fishing. It is also important to know that uncooked crabs MUST be maintained whole and not dissected or altered in any form prior to preparation for consumption.

Lastly, it is always important to be mindful in your fishing activities and respect the environment in which you are accessing. The surrounding environment adjacent to crab habitat is also important for a host of other fish, invertebrate and bird species and there are many environmental groups actively working at restoring much of the riparian vegetation and coastal plants that help to maintain the health and function of our estuaries.

Groups like the Peel Harvey Catchment Council are actively involved in some of these efforts and we urge fishers to think before you step, and use designated access points to your fishing grounds in order to preserve the delicate plants that are invaluable to improving the fishing environment.