Working in conjunction with local fishing clubs, Recfishwest is developing and deploying a network of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) off the coast of the Perth metro and WA regional centres as part of a three-year trial program.
FADs have been used across Australia and off the coasts of places such as Costa Rica and Hawaii to great effect to enhance sport-fishing opportunities for spectacular-fighting pelagic species such as mahi-mahi (dolphin fish), tuna, billfish and mackerel.
Funded by recfishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, we have developed the trial program working closely with local fishing clubs and have coordinated the production and physical deployment of the FADs.
This is exactly how we believe RFIF funds should be spent – as seed money to test ground-breaking projects such as this, that create great fishing opportunities for which there is high demand and support within the recfishing community.
For those who might not be familiar with the concept, FADs are essentially large floats anchored to the seafloor in open water, where they aggregate schools of baitfish, which in turn draw sizeable aggregations of pelagic species.
This creates spectacular sport-fishing opportunities for boat fishers – to get a flavor of just how good the fishing can be – check out this sensational footage filmed by Luke Ryan of TackleWest on the existing metro FADs.
If you’ve got a medium-size or larger boat (or even a tinnie if you’re in Broome!) sensational fishing like this could be accessible to you in the locations below.
*Once the FADs for each location are deployed, the exact GPS coordinates will be updated on our website.
UPDATE June 2020
All Metro, Albany and Cape Naturaliste FADs have now been brought back in for the winter and will be redeployed in late November 2020. Exmouth and Broome FADs will remain in place.
Expected time of re-deployment: Currently pulled in for winter, expected to be re-deployed in late November 2020.
Number of FAD’s/strategy: Two additional FADs going in West of Rottnest in addition to existing Perth Game Fishing Club FADs as well as four FADs for to be deployed further north, which can be accessed by boats launching out of northern metro ramps.
Expected time of re-deployment: Currently pulled in for winter, expected to be re-deployed in late November 2020 Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs in the more temperate waters off Albany, they could potentially draw species like yellowtail kingfish. First time recreational fishing FADS have ever been deployed off Albany.
Expected time of re-deployment: Currently pulled in for winter, expected to be re-deployed in late November 2020 Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs for the first time off the cape in an area where the Leeuwen current flows – we’re expecting to see good aggregations of mahi-mahi here.
Expected time of deployment: Late November 2020 Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing three FADs West of the Abrolhos and one in closer to shore. Out-wide you can expect mahi-mahi, wahoo, tuna and marlin, while mahi-mahi and mackerel could be the go along the FAD that is closer to shore.
Expected time of deployment: Deployed March 2020 (GPS coordinates up to date) Number of FAD’s/strategy: Trialing four FADs west of Ningaloo Reef. We are expecting good numbers of mahi-mahi, along with the possibility of wahoo and various species of tuna and billfish. FAD 1 yet to be deployed.
It’s been a long journey and we’ve had to wade through a mess of red tape and push hard uphill all the way, but finally we’re here.
We’re really excited to be able to deliver this trial program, build our understanding and expertise in this space and be in a stronger position to source future investment in FADs from recfishing licence money and potentially industry sponsors.
So once they’re in, get out there and have a crack – we’re sure you’ll quickly become a FAD fanatic if you’re not already!
Check out what Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland had to say about the FAD rollout here:
Imagine a fishery full of thumping trophy sportfish on your town’s doorstep and within easy reach of the boat ramp.
Imagine what that would look like – well imagine no further – sit back and enjoy this awesome film we commissioned film-maker and fishing fanatic, Craig Wells, to make about fishing in Roebuck Bay, near Broome. The film premiered recently as a finalist in the town’s Mud and Saltwater Short Film Festival.
Recfishwest welcomes the final management plan for the Roebuck Bay Marine Park, which has retained unrestricted recreational fishing access. The plan was announced by Premier Colin Barnett and we believe it strikes the perfect balance between recreation and conservation, illustrating that recreational fishing is compatible with conservation goals.
It provides increased protection for the conservation values of Roebuck Bay while maintaining recreational fishing access to this vitally important area. This further builds on the massive advances in conservation made by the removal of commercial netting a couple of years ago, which has provided a massive boost to Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon fishing in the Bay.
Although there has been some opposition to the plan from those who wanted sanctuary zones and fishing lockout restrictions, we believe it compliments current fisheries management and has struck October a good balance between restoring, protecting and managing natural values of Roebuck Bay while allowing recreational use for all stakeholders.
It is important to note that the local community, including the traditional owners, have been extensively involved during the consultation process which led to the final management plan. Recfishwest believes the plan celebrates fishing as an extremely important and highly valued recreational and cultural activity within Roebuck Bay.
The Broome Fishing Club has welcomed the news with former club president Derek ‘Jig’ Albert saying the management arrangements to ensure great fishing and protection of the environment were currently working in Broome and the community hadn’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades. He pointed to a marked rise in key fish stocks, such as Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon, as proof current management was working.
The management plan also provides comprehensive protection for marine mammals which are already protected under the state Wildlife Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The Yawuru people will play a significant role in the joint management of this park and Recfishwest looks forward to working with both Parks and Wildlife and the Yawuru PBC in promoting stewardship of the Roebuck Bay environment.
Our commitment is to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.
Soon Kununurra will be able to provide both great impoundment and wild river fishing opportunities for visitors to the town, a unique combination sure to appeal to many anglers.
(Photos of competition courtesy of ABC Kimberley)
Roebuck Bay Marine Park: Where Conservation and Recreation Join Forces
Recfishwest welcomes today’s release of the final management plan for Yawuru Nagulagun/Roebuck Bay Marine Park by the Premier, Hon Colin Barnett. This plan provides increased protection for the conservation values of Roebuck Bay while maintaining recreational fishing access to this vitally important area on the door step of Broome.
Recfishwest supports measures that sustain and protect healthy oceans and quality fishing experiences. The management plan announced today provides a win for both conservation and the community and demonstrates recreational fishing is compatible with marine conservation objectives.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the plan celebrates fishing as an extremely important and highly valued recreational and cultural activity within Roebuck Bay.
“The management plan compliments current fisheries management and has struck a good balance between restoring, protecting and managing natural values of Roebuck Bay while allowing recreational use for all stakeholders”, said Dr Rowland.
“Current fisheries management in Roebuck Bay has resulted in fishing experiences being the best in living memory and has gone from strength to strength in the bay since the removal of commercial netting in late 2013.”
Former Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert said management arrangements that ensure great fishing and protection of the environment are currently working in Broome and the community haven’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades.
“We’ve seen a marked rise in key fish stocks, namely Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon, so the proof is in the pudding in terms of current management working,” Mr Albert said.
The management plan also provides comprehensive protection for marine mammals which are already protected under the state Wildlife Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The new management plan is also important in fulfilling the cultural aspirations of the Yawuru people who will play a significant role in the joint management of this park. Recfishwest supports the Management Plan and look forward to working with both Parks and Wildlife and the Yawuru PBC in promoting stewardship of the Roebuck Bay environment.
Our commitment is to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Grose, 9246 3366 or email@example.com
‘When the community’s ability to access sustainable fisheries is jeopardised, we will do everything we can to ensure decisions are made with adequate science and social considerations’
The fishing in Roebuck Bay hasn’t always been as good as it is now, in fact some say it’s the best ever.
A continued push to introduce a sanctuary zone in Roebuck Bay bemused local fishers from the Broome Fishing Club as there is no evidence to support ‘no fishing areas’.
In 2013 the Government decision to purchase all of Roebuck Bay’s commercial netting licences under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy is now paying dividends and the fishing experiences are now being shared by the whole community. The government’s decision was a win for fishing in Broome and the environment of local waters.
Recfishwest’s Regional Policy Officer Matt Gillett travelled to Broome for the Broome Billfish Classic and spoke with the members and club committee on a range of issues. One of the fishing community’s key concerns is the continued push from local environmental groups for a sanctuary zone in Roebuck Bay.
‘’Hearing the concerns rings very true with Recfishwest, and as a fisher myself I have seen firsthand the quality of fishing in this area over the last few years change as the fish are returning to Roebuck Bay in big numbers’’ Matt Gillett said
‘’When the community’s ability to access sustainable fishing opportunities is jeopardised, we will do everything we can to ensure decisions are made with adequate science and social considerations. In this instance, we are confident that the fishing in Roebuck Bay is sustainable and implementing a sanctuary zone is simply not needed’’ Matt said.
Not only is the fishing fantastic, we’ve already seen important conservation activities in the Kimberley, namely the stocking of tens of thousands of Barramundi, fish tagging programs and genetic research demonstrating recreational fishers are stepping up and taking the lead to ensure healthy fish stocks.
Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert said management arrangements that ensure great fishing and protection of the environment are currently working in Broome and the community hasn’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades.
“The numbers of fish are astronomical” Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert.
This demonstrates fishers have a vested interest in conservation and community values that allow everyone to enjoy Roebuck Bay.
The Broome Fishing Club’s first-ever women’s fishing workshop was held last month and was a great success.
As part of its recent push to get more women into fishing the club hosted 67 lady anglers, who have all been very complimentary about the afternoon.
To make it even better, many of them took advantage of good weather on the following day to get out and try their newly-learned skills, with great results which led to a number of selfies on social media.
The workshop itself was broken into three sections, with the Department of Fisheries giving a talk on fish identification and bag limits.
The ladies were then broken into seven groups for knot tying demonstrations, with an instructor for each group.
The workshop concluded with a talk on the all-important topic of safety. Family members then joined ladies for a meal of Mexican to round out a fun day. Rounding out the community feel of the event, the local Men’s Shed also helped with the day, providing bus transport to the Broome Fishing Club from town.
The initiative to take DNA samples from tagged sailfish gathered momentum at the recent Broome Billfish Classic.
Renowned marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell flew to be Broome at the invitation of the Broome Fishing Club to be part of the popular annual event, and also then travelled on to Dampier for the subsequent Dampier Classic.
Tagging and releasing billfish has long been a part of both popular competitions, but this year Dr Pepperell showed participants how to use DNA testing kits to gain valuable scientific data on sailfish and marlin.
Dr Pepperell, based in Queensland, is the man behind the initiative, which is in its second year and sees anglers take a small clip off the dorsal fin of captured fish before releasing them. It is a great way to get more insight into billfish populations, and particularly sailfish.
The DNA data will help shed new light on billfish habits, including fish movements and breeding. This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the WA Department of Fisheries.
Dr Pepperell plans to also show off the new sampling system at future game fishing tournaments around WA. There has already been a dramatic rise in recaptures of tagged sailfish off Broome this year and hopefully, the DNA sampling will help gather further information on this iconic recreational fishing species.