Trout stocking and tourism gets a Government boost in the South West

The WA State Government has committed to undertaking an economic analysis of freshwater fishing in the South West and to develop a business plan to upgrade DPIRD’s Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre.

The plan, the Government says, is to boost trout stocking programs and related tourism across the South West, which injects more than $20 million annually into WA’s regional economies.

Recfishwest is pleased to see a dedicated focus on upgrading the State’s hatchery capacity to support our inland fisheries, said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.

“We believe there is massive potential for expanding the trout stocking program and fishery and commend DPIRD’s Aquatic Freshwater Research and Development team for championing this cause from within the Department,” he said.

“Changing up the stocking regime, putting in place a more robust research program associated with it, exploring new potential freshwater/trout fishing locations and potential stocking of Aussie natives could evolve and secure the fishery well into the future and could take pressure off some of our other fisheries. It’s good to see the Government recognise this potential and take steps to better understand the true value of the fishery and give the Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre a long overdue upgrade.”

Recfishwest has always highlighted and celebrated the value of freshwater fishing in the South West including through events like Troutfest.

Evolving freshwater stocking programs for the future

The business case will look into developing plans for expanding the centre that includes upgrades to existing facilities such as ponds, the hatchery, management systems and offices, as well as the construction of a new trout yearling nursery to increase production and supply of fish stocks.

The upgrades would support research that demonstrates how releasing larger fish improves survival rates and in turn, enhances recreational fishing experiences.

It will also examine the feasibility of a new interactive educational tourism attraction and aquarium connecting the science and history of trout and marron fishing, along with the unique aquatic flora and fauna, of South-West forests.

The Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre is in need of an upgrade to underpin the future evolution of WA’s freshwater fishery.

Fisheries Minister Don Punch said, “This investment will play a vital role in boosting our freshwater fishing stocks, such as trout, and supporting important restocking programs.

“Every year, more 450,000 trout are released across 75 South-West freshwater dams and rivers, with recreational fishers injecting more than $20 million annually into WA’s regional economies while on trout fishing getaways.

“By investing in this business case, the McGowan Government is investing in the future of the South-West and the world-class fishing experiences it has to offer.”

Tom Howe with a lovely rainbow trout from near Pemberton. Picture: Angus Line