2019 Perth Boat Show – That’s a Wrap!

It was great catching up with hundreds of passionate fishers who took the time to speak to at this year’s Perth boat show.

Operations Lead Ben Carlish talking all things fishing

Recfishwest thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to get to hear the views of many members of our community and industry on all things fishing, with the majority of comments being overwhelmingly positive.

Some of the topics that came up included:

Thanks to all those who took the time to come and chat about the topics and parts of fishing they were concerned about or believed required attention, as well as just talking fishing with us, of course! It certainly got us even more fired up!

We are always keen to hear from fishers so if you have any queries or comments about anything to do with rec fishing – send us an email at info@recfishwest.au

We had 99 entries into the kids’ lures design competition and there were some amazing designs with plenty of new, never-seen-before lure patterns and colours invented by the creative young fishers. We’re hoping to draw a winner soon, who will have their lure printed as a limited edition Halco Laser Pro 120  and the honour of being Recfishwest’s official member’s lure for the year. The winner also gets a tour through the Halco factory in Fremantle, some Halco merch and, of course, a few of their own personally designed lures to share with their friends and family! These lures will be sent out to our Recfishwest members in their annual member packs.

There was plenty to talk about at this year’s Perth Boat Show
Check out last year’s lure design winner!

Dhufish Boat Limit Update

There’s no more iconic fish in West Australia than a Dhufish. This fishing favourite has long been a part of West Australian culture as far back as can be remembered and in 2009 when sustainability concerns were first raised, WA fishos graciously accepted the introduction of a Dhufish boat limit, reduced bag limit and a two month closure in the West Coast Bioregion as part of efforts to reduce catches by 5o%.

At the time it was unknown if these management changes would be enough to reduce catches by 50% which was the amount deemed necessary by researchers in order to adequately protect Dhufish stocks and allow this favourite fish to recover. Since the boat limit and other management changes were introduced, catches of Dhuies have remained stable and have exceeded the sustainability target by reducing our catch by 62%. This indicates the initial 2009 management arrangements may have been set a little too high. On that basis and combined with the overwhelming community view that the boat limit of two Dhufish is inequitable for those fishing in larger groups, Recfishwest believes there is scope to increase the Dhufish boat limit in line with Dhufish recovery and the sustainability targets that have been set by Department of Fisheries researchers.

It took a few years, but in 2013 the Dhufish stocks were showing the first signs of recovery and fishers were seeing lots of smaller Dhufish indicating increased recruitment in the fishery. Fishers are pleased to see tangible results from their efforts to reduce catches. Many fishers have actively promoted the positive effects on fish stocks these management changes have had, demonstrating the high level of stewardship for this resource.

A stock assessment in 2013 confirmed some recovery of Dhufish stocks and following this report Recfishwest requested the Department of Fisheries investigate what effect increasing the boat limit would have on Dhufish stocks and target catch levels. The Department decided not to review the boat limit for Dhufish at the time, preferring to obtain more data on Dhufish from the boat ramp surveys and future stock assessments.

A study of recreational boat fishing catches released in 2015 provided Recfishwest with the confidence that our original request in 2013 was sustainable and that a change to the boat limit would not negatively impact Dhufish stocks. Once again we sought a commitment from the Department of Fisheries to investigate the effect of changes to the boat limit of Dhufish. The Department of Fisheries once again preferred to await more information.

Recfishwest is proud to announce the Department of Fisheries has now agreed to review Recfishwest’s request when information from the latest stock assessment for Dhufish becomes available later this year.

Of course, any decisions must be based on sound science using the best information available with sustainability at the forefront. Recfishwest are comfortable that an increase in the boat limit of Dhufish would still see our sectors catch remain below the level needed to ensure the continued recovery of this iconic species. This change, however, would greatly improve fishing experiences on those rare times when there are more than two fishers on board and you are all lucky enough to hook onto a Dhufish.

Recfishwest believes any increase in the number of Dhufish retained as a result of increases to the Dhufish Boat limit will have a minimum biological impact on stocks and provide a major positive impact on recreational fishing amenity. Any increase in catches will remain below the level required to ensure the sustainable recovery of Dhufish.

It’s important to remember that not all of us are lucky enough to catch multiple Dhufish every time we go fishing, but for this special occasion, we believe a group of three should each be able to take a Dhufish home to their family.

We are confident the next stock assessment will reflect the recovery that fishos have been seeing since 2013 and are hopeful management arrangements can be amended to allow an increase in the boat limit of Dhufish before the end of the West Coast Demersal Closure on December 15 this year allowing more West Aussies to enjoy a Dhufish for Christmas!