UPDATED 22.6.20: Recfishing and COVID-19 your questions answered

Q. Is fishing a recommended activity now that some restrictions are being lifted?

A. Yes, very much so – with home isolation now well and truly lifted, it’s a great time to get you and the kids out for a break reconnecting with the great outdoors in this glorious State of ours in the fresh air enjoying all the wellbeing benefits recfishing provides. We also recommend travelling to regional fishing locations now that some regional travel restrictions have been lifted. Increased fishing activity will help boost the State and regional economy with recfishers normally spending $2.4 billion a year on fishing of which $1.8 billion is spent on fishing trips. But we need to remember that we’re not out of the woods yet and you can play your part in helping get rid of COVID-19 in WA, by continuing to adhere to social distancing rules maintaining 2sqm between yourselves and non-family members, practising good hygiene behaviour and avoiding gatherings of more than 20 people (for example when fishing on jetties).

Q. What regional travel restrictions remain in place? 

A. From 6 June travel is permitted throughout all of Western Australia, including into the Kimberley region. Access into remote Aboriginal communities remains prohibited.

Q. When I go fishing, how can I make sure there is less risk of me catching and/or spreading COVID-19?

A. Social distancing rules for outdoors state that you must maintain 2sqm between yourself and another person during non-essential activities and non-essential gatherings are limited to 20 people. The 2sqm rule applies to boat and land-based fishing. It does not apply to members of the same household. If boating with anyone that you do not reside with, ensure you maintain social distancing (at least 2sqm apart). Other things we strongly advise you do to minimise risk of infection/spreading infection include:

  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Don’t make unnecessary physical contact with others. Avoid physical greetings, such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a flexed elbow or a tissue; if you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately and appropriately.
  • Download the COVIDSafe app.

Click here for more advice about social distancing and good hygience practices.

Q. Is there any specific advice about boating?

A. Click here for  WA Department of Transport’s recreational boating advice.

Q. What is Recfishwest doing during the COVID-19 crisis?

A. Recfishing will be more important that ever after this crisis is over for people’s mental health and wellbeing and to help boost the State and regional economies – recfishers spend $2.4 billion a year on fishing – much of which is spent in the regions. During the crisis we will be working hard to progress projects that will make recfishing better in line with our stated purpose, “To ensure great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever”. The more we can progress initiatives to remove barriers to fishing, enhance current fishing opportunities and create new fishing options working closely with Government, the more recfishing can play a vital role in the recovery of this great State of ours.

Q. What can we do to support our local tackle store and the charter industry?

A. The local WA tackle industry has been doing it tough during COVID-19. We encourage everyone to stock up on gear from your local tackle supplier to support the local tackle industry and/or book a trip with your local charter. Click here to find out how you can support WA’s recfishing industry.

Looking after yourself, your family and your business during the COVID-19 crisis

For many in our community, the world as we know feels like it’s turned upside down right now.

Many are doing it tough – those who have lost their jobs or are facing redundancy, those who are battling to keep their businesses open and those worried about elder members of their families and those with underlying health conditions vulnerable to COVID-19. As a fishing community we are bound by the same interests and passion to make fishing better in WA and we rally together in times of need. We are encouraging everyone to reach out for support where needed and keep talking to one another in order to get through to the other side.

Given that fishing with our mates will be on pause for a while, we encourage you to reach out and check in with each other. Fishing chat, banter, social and club catch-ups can continue through social media and virtual meeting technology. On the other side we’ll need fishing more than ever before with the mental health and wellbeing benefits it offers and to help get our economy going again.

During this crisis Recfishwest will continue to work hard progressing projects like artificial reefs, FADs and Aussie natives stocking that can make recfishing better on the other side. We’re also going to be reaching out to the recfishing community and the tackle industry to find out what we can do to support you through these hard times. We are a solution-based organisation and we want to better understand what your immediate needs are and how we can help.

In the meantime, here are some resources and services available for individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. These resources can assist in ensuring you’re doing what you can for your own mental health and wellbeing, your business, but also your families’ too. Because, at the end of the day, there is nothing more important than keeping yourself and loved ones safe.

Support for individuals

Get your information from trusted sources and stay up to date:

  • WA Department of Health website. Click here.
  • Federal Department of Health website.
  • WA Sate Government – COVID-19 information.
  • Official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play. Stay up to date by download the app to your smartphone or device.
  • The Government has also developed a WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android. To join this channel, send a blank message to o +61 400 253 787 on WhatsApp and you will be added to the governments WhatsApp channel where you can get the latest information.
  • The Coronavirus Health Information Line is available to call 24 hrs, 7 days per week for information on Coronavirus 1800-020-080.

Mental Health

Below is a list of comprehensive and effective online services and programs that are available free of charge. If you’re experiencing mental distress, these services can help you understand and address your needs through self-assessment, self-help and, if you choose, online professional support:

  • Lifeline Australia – a national charity providing Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour support and suicide prevention services. Ph: 13 11 14
  • Mensline – A telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationships concerns. Ph: 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline – Free, private and confidential phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 – 25. Ph: 1800 551 80
  • Beyond Blue – learn more about anxiety, depression and suicide prevention, or talk through your concerns with their support service. Ph: 1300 22 4636.
  • Heads Up– a Beyond Blue and Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance initiative that provides business owners with free tools and resources to look after their mental health at work and achieve a mentally healthy workplace.
  • Mental Health Online – Online services free of charge for those experiencing mental distress.
  • Business in Mind– a program developed by the University of Tasmania focusing on mental health especially tailored to small and medium business owners.
  • Ahead for Business– a website and app with information, programs and interventions to support small business owners with their mental health and wellbeing.

Support for you and your business during COVID-19

  • A guide for preparing a business against coronavirus – practical checklist to help you manage the impact of coronavirus. Click here for more.

Government financial assistance:

JobKeeper Payment – designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income. It is also available to self-employed business operators, such as sole-traders. Eligible businesses will receive $1,500 per employee per fortnight for up to six months.

More information here.

Boosting cash flow for businesses- support for businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help retain their employees. More information and to see if your business is eligible,

Click here.

Keep apprentices and trainees onThe subsidy will be available to small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees who retain an apprentice or trainee.

More information here.

Instant asset write-off – From 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, the instant asset write-off threshold is $150,000 (up from $30,000) and eligibility range covers businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). More information here.

Backing business investment – Businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million are able to accelerate their depreciation deductions on the purchase of certain new depreciable assets. This applies to eligible assets acquired and first used or installed ready for use from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021. Click here for more.

Australian Tax Office support – super payments, low interest payment plans, payment deferrals – If you or your business has been affected by COVID-19 and you need help to pay your existing and ongoing tax liabilities, contact the ATO on 1800 806 218. More here.


Keeping yourself and the community safe during the COVID-19 crisis

We hope you and your families are well and keeping safe during these challenging times.

Following the Government’s recent announcement about everyone needing to stay at home unless for essential reasons, we have asked the Premier’s Office to clarify how this new advice applies to recreational fishing.

This morning we received the following statement directly from the Premier’s Office:

“To protect our community and reduce the spread of COVID-19, we’ve introduced restrictions that limit both indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings to two persons only. Western Australians should follow four simple guidelines. That is, everyone should be staying home unless for:

  • shopping for what you need – like food or necessary supplies;
  • medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
  • exercise, in compliance with the public gathering requirements; and
  • work or study, if you can’t work or learn remotely.

“We urge all Western Australians to practice common-sense and cease non-essential activity. Where possible, we encourage recreational fishers to stay home for now. We thank all Western Australians for their understanding during this time.” WA Premier’s Office 

These are exceptional times, in WA we are in a Declared State of Emergency and we all need to pull together and play a role to get through this to the other side, when fishing will be more important than ever in boosting people’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as the regional and State economies.

Recfishwest understands people wanting to go fishing at what is a very challenging time for the benefit of their mental health and wellbeing and to get a feed for their family – and it’s not our role to tell people what they can or can’t do. However, this advice is very clear – you should stay in your homes to protect yourself against infection from COVID-19 and from potentially spreading the disease unless for essential activities.

Pulling together to get through to the other side

So, we advise recfishers to think very carefully if it is essential for you to go fishing and to be safe and be responsible for your own wellbeing, your families’ and that of the community as a whole.

We encourage recfishers to use this time to prepare and plan for their fishing trips when we are all able to wet a line once again. Use the time to stock up on those bits of gear in preparation for when you can fish again – and make sure you buy your fishing gear from your local tackle suppliers (online or give them a call), they’re doing it really tough now and consider retaining any charter fishing bookings for the future to help support the charter industry.

Start planning future family and fishing holidays in the regions – they will need every domestic tourism dollar they can get once we can all get up and running again after this crisis.

The sooner we can pull through this together as a community the sooner we can all get back out there fishing.