The fishing tourism sector makes a significant contribution to WA’s blue economy and a valued service to recreational fishers who spend more than $110.9 million each year on charter fishing tours helping support 830 jobs, a new research report has revealed.
The research report, supported by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF), showed the vast majority of fishing tourism clients are keen recreational fishers, with 92 per cent of those taking part in charter fishing tours holding a recreational boat fishing licence.
Whether it be a live-aboard charter tour exploring fishing meccas like the Abrolhos Islands or Rowley Shoals, or chasing threadfin salmon and barramundi in Roebuck Bay aboard a small boat with an experienced fishing guide, or a family trip experiencing cray fishing for the first time, the WA fishing tourism sector provides a diverse range of charter fishing options.
Providing hugely diverse fishing experiences
Speaking at a media event with the Minister for Fisheries Don Punch and Marine Tourism WA (MTWA) President Matt Howard, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland commented, “It’s a hugely diverse sector providing a wide array of fishing experiences for its clients, the overwhelming majority of which this report show are already keen recreational fishers.
“The fishing tourism sector provides fishers with the opportunity to enjoy fishing experiences away from home or beyond the range of their own boats safely and under the expert guidance of seasoned professionals and there are some really great operators out there who provide a great service.”
MTWA President Matt Howard added, “We were delighted to have been given the opportunity to undertake this research with Economic Research Associates with the support of the RFIF.
“The research clearly demonstrates the high value placed by recreational fishers in the marine tourism experiences our members provide.
“Our members, many of them passionate fishers themselves, work long and hard to bring a diverse range of fishing experiences to our clients and the survey we undertook as part of the research shows they provide a quality service with their businesses making a significant contribution to the WA economy.”
Contributing to the wider tourism industry
“This report shows that once again recreational fishing is a very important economic driver for our economy and contributes in no small part to the $2.4 billion that recreational fishing generates every year,” said Dr Rowland.
“It also shows that many people engage in many other tourist activities and book accommodation around a charter fishing trip so the marine tourism sector is also a big contributor to the wider tourism industry.
“But it goes beyond the bottom line, with charter fishing providing many people, often young families, with their first memorable experiences of boat fishing and you just can’t put a dollar value on that.”
Fisheries Minister Don Punch added: “The charter fishing industry is doing a great job providing world-renowned fishing experiences, with 90 per cent of fishers rating their charter fishing experience seven out of 10 or above.
“Charter operators also play an important role in educating fishers on the rules and bags limits to protect the long-term sustainability of our fish resources.”