Fishing is a treasured part of the WA lifestyle and everyone should be able to have access to it — that includes fishers with disabilities.
“As we all know and experience for ourselves, fishing provides enormous mental health, wellbeing and social benefits, as well as contributing $2.4 billion to the State’s economy,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.
“Today, we attended the official naming and launching of the MV Fishability in Mandurah – a specially adapted boat to accommodate fishers in wheelchairs.
“This boat is Fishability’s – Recfishwest’s partner organisation – and will start an exciting new chapter for Fishability and the organisation’s Mandurah program, opening up the opportunity for fishers with disabilities to fish the Peel-Harvey Estuary for fun-to-catch species.”
Fishing: fun and inclusive
With room for nine fishers and their carers, the 8.5m twin pontoon boat was built by Mandurah-based boat builders Bouvard Marine.
Whether its whiting, herring, tailor or blue swimmer crabs, we can’t wait to see what’s caught from this impressive fishing boat.
Fishability Chairperson Mike Donnelly summarised it perfectly when he said:
“This boat will help give even more people in the Peel region the opportunity to safely get out on the water, wet a line and enjoy what fishing has to offer.
“It’s not just about the fishing, though, it’s also about breaking down the isolation and bringing people undertaking these activities together.”
Fishability volunteer Gabi Gaal, a mad-keen fisher herself, and has been involved in the Mandurah program since it began, added: “The clients and their carers absolutely love the opportunity to have a fish.
“It gives them the chance to get out and have a chat, but most importantly they want the chance to catch a fish.
“They’re just so happy when they get fishing, it’s fantastic to see – you can see the huge value they get from it.”
Launching a new chapter
In addition to Bouvard Marine owner Simon Dummett’s in-kind assistance, the MV Fishability has been backed by a wave of support including recreational fishing licence fees through the State Government’s Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF).
The Commonwealth Stronger Communities Program, PEACH (Personnel Employed at ALCOA Charitable Help), AWA Alliance Bank, City of Mandurah and the State Government’s Small Election Commitments Program for Mandurah have also backed the boat build.
“This boat will allow Fishability to continue to do great work and ensure fishing will remain truly inclusive,” Dr Rowland concluded.