Recfishwest and Fisheries Minister Don Punch joined fishing charity Fishability at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River to launch its fantastic, new 8.75m specially adapted boat to give people with disabilities the opportunity to experience fishing.
The hull of the boat, named the Nev Thomas II, after Fishability founder Nev Thomas, has been funded through a $80,000 grant from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
Like its predecessor, the Nev Thomas, the spacious pontoon has special adaptations that allow up to eight people with disabilities and their carers to fish comfortably and safely for tailor, bream, flathead, whiting and many other species.
In some additional great news for this important program, the Minister also announced a further $100,000 in RFIF funding for Fishability to assist with its operational costs over the next two years.
For more than 20 years, Fishability has provided recreational fishing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and Recfishwest is a keen partner and advocate for the great work the charity does.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “Everyone should be able to enjoy the many benefits and great pleasure in wetting a line – including people with disabilities. Recfishwest is delighted to see the Nev Thomas II launched today with the support of the Minister and RFIF funding to help achieve this aspiration.
“Not only will fishers with disabilities continue to be able to safely enjoy catching the great Metro species on offer here on the city’s doorstep – the original Nev Thomas has been relocated to Albany to help boost Fishability’s program in the Great Southern.
“We also welcome today’s $100,000 RFIF funding announcement for Fishability over the next two years to help support these fantastic volunteer-run programs.”
The $50,000 cost of the two 60 horsepower engines, fishing and safety gear and first aid equipment was funded through a Lotterywest grant, while the Royal Perth Yacht Club is kindly penning the vessel free of charge.
Fishability Chairman Wayne Bowen said “Fishing is a treasured part of our wonderful WA lifestyle, and everyone should be able to enjoy it – including people with disabilities – and that’s exactly what this boat is going to do here in Perth and also indirectly for our Albany program too.
“We’d like to thank the Royal Perth Yacht Club and all our fantastic partners, supporters and sponsors who help initiatives like this happen.”
Fisheries Minister Don Punch, who is also the Minister for Disability Services said, “Supporting Fishability helps to enhance the quality of life of the participants and is so important in creating friendships and opportunities for the disability community in Western Australia.
“It provides a platform to develop life skills and self-confidence and breaks down isolation through inclusive and quality recreational fishing experiences.”
Want to make a booking with Fishability for yourself or someone you know? Click here!