Blue Swimmer Crab Changes and What They Mean For You


The new management changes for blue swimmer crabs in Perth and the South West will result in more protection for the female crab breeding stock will ensure bigger, better crabs in the near future.

  • Permanent removal of commercial fishing licences in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds and from Mandurah to Bunbury through a voluntary buy-back scheme will ensure more protection for the female crab breeding stock and more crabs and bigger crabs to fish for.
  • The buy-back of commercial fishing licences in Cockburn Sound opens the real possibility for recreational crab fishing in the Sound.
  • Introduction of a three-month seasonal closure – September 1 to November 30 – in all waters from the Swan and Canning Rivers (inclusive) to 15km south of Bunbury.

See our map below to show you what the changes mean for you in your favourite crabbing locations.

Reeling in a Bright Future For Fishing Clubs

Fishing clubs have been a staple of our great pastime for many years, as they provide an opportunity for hands-on learning amongst a social setting full of like-minded individuals.

Fishing Clubs remain an integral part of their local communities and the landscape of the WA fishing scene.

The traditional model of a fishing club has lost some of its appeal to up-and-coming fishers. The days of sharing fishing stories at the monthly club meeting have been replaced with the instant gratification of sharing stories on social media.

Due to the change in the way many of us share our fishing knowledge, some clubs have struggled to adapt to changes and now find themselves unable to attract fresh faces or ideas to their organisations. Being innovative and making fishing club’s attractive to the next generation is a vital part of continuing to deliver the numerous benefits that clubs provide to the members and their local community.

Pictured above is Russell Hanley from the Australian Trout Foundation and Matthew Gillett from Recfishwest.

We’re pleased to report that there is a great number of fishing clubs in WA that are as strong as ever. These clubs have continued to innovate and provide members with opportunities to socialise and go fishing in a way that aligns with current social norms and values.

As a part of our commitment to improve fishing in Western Australia, recently Recfishwest ran our inaugural Fishing Clubs Conference, aimed at building and developing fishing clubs across WA. The two-day conference provided information on current fisheries management and research approaches in WA, along with an update on Recfishwest projects.

The conference had a focus on assisting clubs to improve their services and discussions on ways to improve shore, boat and freshwater fishing.

From left to right: John Curtis from Australian Anglers Association, Craig Wells from WellStrategic and Malcolm Cruickshank from WA Anglers attended the conference over the two days.

Representatives from a number of fishing clubs from both the metropolitan and regional areas attended the conference, eager to learn new approaches and also share their experience and expertise with other fishing clubs from around the state.

Recfishwest took many learnings away from the two days and from the feedback received, the clubs took plenty away from the presentations and subsequent discussions.

This is the first time Recfishwest has held a forum like this, and we plan to hold similar events in the coming years to further understand and assist with the issues faced by fishing clubs around the state.

Thanks to the following clubs for attending the conference:

  • Australian Anglers Association
  • Australian Trout Foundation
  • Broome North Fishing Club
  • Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club
  • Exmouth Game Fishing Club
  • King Bay Game Fishing Club
  • Lancelin Angling and Aquatic Club
  • Mangles Bay Fishing Club
  • Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club
  • Perth Game Fishing Club
  • WA Trout and Freshwater Fishing Association
  • WA Anglers
  • WA Undersea Club

Recfishwest will continue to work closely with clubs to ensure they remain an integral part of their local communities and the landscape of the WA fishing scene.

Having seen first-hand some of the great work of many successful fishing clubs in WA, we are now more certain than ever that the future of fishing clubs is strong.

Pictured above is Scott Medling from Nickol Bay Sportfishing Club with Ben Knaggs & Dave Thomson from the Exmouth Game Fishing Club.

What $2.4 Billion Dollars Means for Your Fishing

Earlier in the month you may  have read the latest announcement regarding just how much fishing matters to West Aussies, after a report titled ‘Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia’ detailed the boost to the economy from fishing.

Will Chal and Cahal Dalm enjoy getting out on the water any chance they get

The report showed every year $2.4 billion is spent by Western Australian’s on fishing related activities including fishing trips, travel, fishing gear and boat fishing costs. A whopping $1.8 billion is spent by West Aussies on fishing trips alone! You can ‘Catch the stats’ here.

What does this mean for you and your fishing?

We have known for a long time that fishing provides a huge number of health and well-being benefits and now we know the huge economic benefit it also provides. With fishing now recognised by Government on an economic scale similar to many large industries, it makes it easier for us to advocate on fishers’ behalf.

Economics are an important factor in decision making and being able to quantify our annual contribution to the economy gives Recfishwest and the fishing community another string to our bow when seeking changes that enhance our fishing experiences.

Steve Hart enjoying the 12 month rock lobster season

How will Government recognise fishing from now on?

This report gives the Government an indicator of what’s possible if we manage our fisheries to support great fishing experiences. $2.4 billion of economic activity is the new benchmark which can continue to grow.

The McGowan Government wants WA’s recreational fishing experience to get even better and build on our reputation for having some of the most sustainable fisheries and being one of the best places in the world to fish. The Premier recently stated ‘’we are doing everything we can to enhance our tourism industry and recreational fishing is a part of that.”

We are pleased to see fishing incorporated into the state’s tourism agenda as we’d much rather see people spending time fishing in our regions than heading overseas.  We expect the Governments recently announced $12 million boost to promote WA to international holiday-makers would include promotion of the great fishing opportunities on offer in Western Australia throughout the whole year.

Recfishwest will continue to enhance your fishing experiences

By going fishing, you are supporting local businesses including retail, hospitality and tourism, which in turn support local jobs which is positive for any Government that wants to grow an industry.

Government now have a dollar value against fishing and can potentially put more money aside for future investments, knowing just how much economic activity is generated through fishing.

Some examples of the Governments investments in fishing over the past two years include funding for fishing safety, the voluntary commercial buyback of fisheries in the Peel-Harvey Estuary and Derby using recreational fishing licence money and support for new artificial reefs in Esperance, Exmouth and Ocean Reef..

What will Recfishwest do with this report?

Recfishwest will continue to ensure your fishing experiences are celebrated, promoted and enhanced by utilising the data in this report to make sure your voice is heard by decision makers!  $2.4 billion is the new baseline for recreational fishing value; if fishing experiences are enhanced, no-one knows just how high this figure could grow.

Working with Government and Tourism providers to promote our great fishing in WA, articulate the importance of fishing in specific regional areas, advocate for fishing to be put on your local agenda with Local Government and Regional Development Commissions are just a few of the avenues we will pursue to grow this great lifestyle!

The best way to maintain and grow fishing is to ensure people have a great time whenever they go fishing in our great state. To achieve this, we need more than simply sustainable fish populations; we need healthy oceans and waterways managed for abundant and plentiful fish stock and that’s exactly what we strive for at Recfishwest.

Go fishing, have a great time and return home safe!

Imagine if you had the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime, every time you went fishing – wouldn’t you go fishing more often?

For a full breakdown of all the stats click here.

What can I do as an individual to make fishing better and have my voice heard?

The best way to make fishing better in WA is to help to protect, promote and enhance it. You can play a role in this via various initiatives such as:

  • By becoming a Recfishwest member
  • Submitting an application for our annual community grants program
  • Propose an initiative and get funding through our Recreational Fishing Initiatives Funding Program
  • Familiarise yourself with regional specific recreational issues
  • Be the eyes and ears on the ground, let us know when something isn’t right in your area
  • Stay informed – we spend a lot of time keeping you up to date on fishing issues right across the state. By educating yourself on fishing issues you can have better informed opinions, rather than relying on social media for your information – trust us, most of what’s out there is wrong!
  • Download the Recfishwest app and be familiar with fishing rules
  • Go fishing, have a great time and return home safe!

Above all we want to hear from you, talk to us, participate in our surveys, tell your family and friends about us, provide submissions when issues arise and tell us about your fishing experiences, what’s good, what’s bad and what would make your fishing better.

Together we can ensure great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever. Photo credit Perth Fishing Safaris.


Western Australia’s $2.4 Billion Lifestyle

6 March, 2019 MEDIA RELEASE

Western Australia’s $2.4 Billion Lifestyle

    • WA’s hundreds of thousands of fishers choose to spend $2.4 billion every year on fishing
    • $1.8 billion spent on fishing trips alone
    • Healthy abundant fish stocks are the key to great fishing experiences
Recfishwest Chairman Tim Bray and WA Premier Hon. Mark McGowan

Recfishwest, the West Australian Premier the Hon. Mark McGowan and the Minister for Fisheries the Hon Dave Kelly today launched a report on the ‘Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia’, at an event in Fremantle.

In a WA first, the economic study detailed the annual economic spend by recreational fishers on fishing related activities such as fishing trips and travel, fishing gear and boat fishing costs. The results, a staggering $2.4 billion is spent by fishers each year!

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the figure is huge but not one of surprise.

“We know almost 750,000 Western Australians choose to go fishing as part of their lifestyle, that’s at least one person in every 3rd house who goes fishing each year,” Dr Rowland said.

“The $2.4 billion yearly injection into the state’s economy demonstrates that recreational fishing in WA matters.”

Fisheries Minister Hon. Dave Kelly, Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland, WA Premier Hon. Mark McGowan and Recfishwest Chairman Tim Bray (from left to right)

“It’s important to note this is a voluntary spend from our community, it’s not a tax, people aren’t forced to spend their hard earned dollars to go fishing, they choose to.  $2.4 billion is the new baseline for recreational fishing value, as long as fishing experiences are protected and enhanced this figure will continue to grow.”

“We have known for a long time that fishing provides a huge number of health and wellbeing benefits for our community and now we know the huge economic benefits it also provides our economy”.

“The best way to maintain and grow these benefits is to ensure people have a great time whenever they go fishing in our great state.”

“To achieve this, we need more than simply sustainable fish populations, we need healthy oceans and waterways managed for abundant and plentiful fish stocks.” Dr Rowland said.

“Imagine if you had the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime, every time you went fishing – wouldn’t you go fishing more often?”

West Australians love to travel throughout WA for fishing, spending $1.8 billion on fishing trips each year, $160 million on fishing gear such as pots, rods and reels and $390 million on purchasing and maintaining new and used fishing boats.

“We are very pleased to see the Premier today supporting our desire to see fishing incorporated into the state’s tourism agenda, we’d much rather see people spending time fishing in our regions than heading overseas.”

Read WA Premier Hon. Mark McGowan and Fisheries Minister Hon. Dave Kelly’s Media release here.

Recfishwest Chairman Tim Bray, Fisheries Minister Hon. Dave Kelly and WA Premier Hon. Mark McGowan (from left to right)

Fact File:

  • Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia was conducted by Economic Research Associates and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Recfishwest. The project was funded through recreational fishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
  • The total expenditure figure in the research is not the total ‘value’ of the recreational fishing industry, simply what West Aussies spend each year on their fishing activities.
  • 45% of fishers state-wide only fish from the shore, 24% from a boat only, 31% from both boat and shore
  • An average boat based fisher spends $13,559/yr (this does not include boat purchase) and average shore based fishers spends $2,253/yr
  • What residents of each WA region spend on fishing per year:
    • Gascoyne – $28 million
    • Goldfields – $147 miilion
    • Great Southern -$ 46 million
    • Kimberley – $184 million
    • Metro – $1.1 billion
    • Mid-West – $76 million
    • Peel – $217 million
    • Pilbara – $190 million
    • South West – $306 million
    • Wheat Belt – $43 million

Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia Report

WA Premier Hon. Mark McGowan Rec Fishing Economic Value Audio:

Fisheries Hon. Minister Dave Kelly Rec Fishing Economic Value Audio:

Recfishwest Chairman Tim Bray Rec Fishing Economic Value Audio:

20 Years of Getting Kids Hooked!

For 20 years now, Recfishwest in partnership with Healthway, promoting the SunSmart message, has delivered fishing clinics to kids and community groups across WA.

2019 Exmouth GAMEX fishing clinic

The success of our fishing clinics is due in most part to our dedicated and passionate volunteer clinic instructors, many of whom have been part of the Recfishwest team from the beginning. They generously share their expertise, knowledge and experience with WA’s next generation of fishers.

Everyone participating in our fishing clinics and other community events is taught information on the roles and responsibilities of Recfishwest and the need to adopt more appropriate SunSmart behaviour.  The clinics address many aspects of fishing including basic fishing skills, the use of appropriate equipment, the reasons behind fishing rules, correct fish handling techniques, catch care and fishing safety.

‘Me No Fry’ – ‘Addicted to Fishing’, ‘Not Drugs – Fish for the Future’ – ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide, Seek’; are just some of the core messages associated with Recfishwest fishing clinics over the years and we have come a long way since 1998 when we first teamed up with Healthway to introduce youth and families all over WA to recreational fishing.

Brianne James from Healthway, Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland and Jeremy Maher from City of Bayswater

With this year marking the 20th year, we are proud to say we have conducted over 1100 clinics and almost 40,000 attendees have been introduced to recreational fishing.

That’s almost 5 clinics a month, every month for 20 years!!!

We are grateful to Healthway (SunSmart) for their ongoing support, as well to our other partners.

A quick look back at how the clinics have evolved over the years;

2001 Karratha fishing clinic
  • Nov 1998 Signed up for sponsorship with partner Healthway (Me-no-fry, for Cancer Council). Continued every year since then and progressed to ‘SunSmart’ as main message.
  • 1999: Installation of sunscreen stations at boat ramps all over WA to increase awareness of being SunSmart.
  • 2004 – 2008: Additional funding from the Federal Government under the Commonwealth Community Grants Scheme for Recfishwest’s ‘Addicted to Fishing Not Drugs’ initiative enhanced the Healthway fishing clinics program
  • 2006 Having already been Healthway awards finalist twice; in 2006 Recfishwest were recognised for “Sponsorship projects showing Innovation and Community Participation” and WON the national award for “Best project encouraging fishing participation by children and women”
  • 2007 The fishing clinic program was selected as a finalist in the 2007 Community Services Industry Awards in the category 7 – Strengthening Rural and Remote Communities.
  • 2008 Recfishwest was a finalist in the 2008 Recfish Australia Awards under the “Best Project Encouraging Participation of Women and Children in fishing”.
  • From 2006 onwards – a significant number of advance bookings through the coming partnership period and many schools booking multiple classes and utilising the clinics each year. In addition, many teachers have reported that they have heard about how successful the clinics are from teachers at other schools, indicating a high degree of positive word of mouth within the education system towards the program.

    Casey McLaren at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre fishing clinic on 16 February 2019
  • 2007 – We held our first “Pink” Fly fishing Clinic in November 2007, an initiative which studies in the United States were shown to be highly beneficial for women recovering from breast cancer. This first session was a huge success and saw eleven ladies try their hand at fly fishing. Two subsequent “Pink” Fly fishing Clinics were held during 2008/2009 and annually sine. Then in 2014 became “Purple” Fly Fishing, to better align with the Breast Cancer Care WA colours.
  • 2010 – 2014 – Recfishwest secured a partnership with Woodside Energy Ltd in early 2010 to meet the high travel costs of running clinics in the north-west. The Northern Community Fishing Clinics program was well received between the years 2010 to 2014.  Recfishwest’s eye-catching fishing clinic trailer had a very distinguishable SunSmart theme and was exposed to thousands of people both through clinics and travelling between locations
  • 2015 – New educational book developed in 2015 – ‘Become a Recfishwest Fisher Kid’ distributed to 1000 participants
  • 2017 – Stretched budget to limit and had to approach new way of delivering clinics under a cost recovery scheme so as not to disappoint the increasing number of groups applying for clinic sessions
  • 2018Welcomed Getaway Outdoors as a program sponsor. Less than two months into our 2018/2019 partnership period and the program is already fully allocated to clinic bookings until July 2019!!!
  • 2019 – Welcomed Hooked Gear as a program partner in April.

We’re looking forward to another successful partnership year with Healthway from July 2019 to June 2020.


“Fishing is the lifeblood of our culture and giving kids and families access to fishing experiences is something we really value at Recfishwest. There would have been kids who we taught early in the fishing clinics program who are now having their own kids; and that’s where the legacy and knowledge is passed on.’’ Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.


‘’I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of Kim Burton, Craig Bibra, Ian Sewell, Alan Guthrie, Adam Vegvary, Paul Willis, Kevin Murphy, Bec Griffiths and Greg Harrison our passionate volunteer instructors who have dedicated their time to help grow the program and get families out fishing.’’ Recfishwest CEO – Andrew Rowland.


If you are interested in finding out more about the Recfishwest fishing clinics explore our website to find the dates of upcoming events.

Ocean Reef senior highschool at a Rottnest 2019 fishing clinic

Fishing Opportunities Increase This Season

Autumn is a magical time for fishing right across WA. The summer winds ease and the fishing conditions are often some of the best of the year, coinciding happily with some fantastic fishing opportunities. In the South-West, the Salmon run could well continue for some time around Perth, if last year’s lingering schools are any indication. Many of the fish should be returning south in the ‘back run’ and this will provide more good salmon fishing along the south coast, in particular.

Metro anglers should also find Skippy and Herring abundant around reefy structure, while river fishers will find Black Bream moving downstream. Storm chasers will utilise foul weather to target Pink Snapper, and the odd Mulloway, from metro rock walls. Jurien Bay is a popular destination during autumn, offering Spanish Mackerel and some great offshore fishing, while shore anglers wanting to target spaniards can try ballooning around Wagoe. Autumn is also the time to try for a rare Dhufish from the shore between Geraldton and Dongara. It’s also a time when many anglers from the South-West head north looking for warmer weather and Exmouth can be dynamic at this time of year, with favourable weather conditions offering a wide range of options.

Offshore there will be good numbers of Billfish and Spanish Mackerel, while shore anglers can tangle with Spangled Emperor, Trevally and Queenfish. The Gulf is fishing well for big Queenfish and Golden Trevally, with a number of huge Giant Trevally also cruising the shallows. Autumn is also a great time of the year to find massive Giant Herring over a metre long. The Barramundi activity in the north should continue and there will still be good fish on offer from Karratha northwards, with fizzers and poppers worth a try at night. Threadfin Salmon should fish well in the rejuvenated Roebuck Bay for some time yet.

Wherever you are in WA, or wherever you’re planning on travelling too, there’s plenty of safe and accessible fishing options for you, your mates and family to enjoy. For more on what’s biting or to learn where to catch visit Like always, please send your fishing photos for our state-wide fishing reports! Send them or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.