Sewelly’s commitment to WA fishing earns Recfishwest Life Membership

Sharing knowledge, teaching the fishers of tomorrow, showcasing what WA fishing has to offer and standing up for fishers’ rights – Ian Sewell has long been one of Recfishwest’s and WA fishing’s quiet achievers and somewhat of an unsung hero.

At the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, the Recfishwest Board bestowed Life Membership on ‘Sewelly’ in recognition of his tireless voluntary work for Recfishwest over a number of years in many different capacities.

“Sewelly’s commitment, leadership and terrific passion for fishing, and also Recfishwest, make him an excellent choice for Life Membership,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

“I’d like to say, on behalf of everyone at Recfishwest – congratulations, Sewelly.”

WATCH: Hear what Sewelly had to say after he was bestowed the honour

Speaking with Recfishwest, Ian said he was humbled to be awarded Recfishwest Life Membership.

“I was very moved when Andrew told me, I was shocked — I didn’t think I’d ever be awarded something like this,” Sewelly said in the video.

“One of the real joys of being involved with Recfishwest is hosting the fishing clinics… whether it’s for kids or adults, the clinics are amazing.”

A fishing fanatic

From black bream along the south coast, to marlin off Exmouth, brown trout in the South West or barramundi in the North West, Ian is an avid fisher with a wealth of knowledge.

“Sewelly was involved in advocating for the interests of WA recfishers right from the start – in fact even before then – as a member of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee when he was 19 years old, prior to the establishment of Recfishwest,” Dr Rowland said.

Ian first joined the Recfishwest Board in 1999 and has since held multiple positions across four different terms as a Director.

He also served as a member of numerous Recfishwest Board sub-committees including the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, the Communications Committee, the Nomination and Remuneration Committee and was the Deputy Chair of Recfishwest from 2010 to 2015.

Ian, who has travelled across the globe to fish, is a well-accomplished fly fisher.

Although he left the Recfishwest Board in 2015, Ian has continued to represent fishers’ interests through his role as Chair of the Recfishwest Freshwater Fishing Reference Group reflecting his love of fly-fishing – he has represented WA at a national fly fishing tournament level.

“As many of you will be aware, under Ian’s chairmanship, the freshwater reference group provides strategic advice to the Recfishwest Board around trout stocking locations and marron fishery management before it’s ultimately passed onto State Government,” Dr Rowland said.

“In all of these positions, he was able to draw on his rich experience of the WA fishing scene, fishing media and the tackle industry, to provide wise counsel and leadership.”

A man with many hats

Ian has always been a champion of the Recfishwest cause of representing the rights and interests of fishers and protecting our fisheries in many of his different roles within the WA fishing community including being the co-founder and editor of the highly regarded Western Australian Fishing Magazine.

He was later the WA Fishing Monthly editor before the magazine was consolidated into one nationwide edition.

Whether it’s marlin off Exmouth, black bream in the Swan or redfin perch in the South West, Ian simply loves fishing.

Ian can also take credit for being instrumental in bringing and establishing the bream tournament fishing scene to WA from when it had previously been the exclusive preserve of the Eastern States.

However, his face might be most recognisably to fishers – especially young fishers and their parents – for the countless fishing clinics he’s helped host over the years.

As one of Recfishwest’s senior fishing clinic instructors, Ian is still teaching the next generation of fishers at clinics where he models safe fishing practices and promotes Recfishwest safety messages.

“Ian is an avid fisher who works tirelessly within and alongside Recfishwest to ensure sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing experiences for generations to come,” Dr Rowland said.

“Ian has lived and breathed fishing for a large part of his life and has put his heart and soul into giving back to what he loves through dedicated service to Recfishwest and WA fishing.

“Onya, Sewelly – and our heartfelt thanks for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.”

For Sewelly, nothing beats teaching youngsters the basics of fishing and correct fish handling at a clinic.