Young people who are doing it tough are enjoying the mental, well-being and physical net benefits fishing has to offer thanks to a partnership between “at risk” youth program Youth Futuresand Recfishwest.
And the ‘Next Cast’ project is proving to be a huge success with the school’s students truly bitten by the fishing bug.
“I’ve been inundated with questions from the students asking where and when the next fishing clinic is taking place because they had so much fun,” said Youth Futures Education Assistant Jonathan Higham.
“We’ve been seeing first-hand the immediate and prolonged benefits that these fishing clinics have been having on our students. Engaging activities out in the fresh air close to nature such as fishing also helps boost the students’ engagement in class. They’ve told us they all really look forward to coming to school when the fishing clinics were coming up.”
Next Cast aims to give alternative learning opportunities to young people who are socially disconnected because of their circumstances and are at risk of falling through the cracks of the education system.
Most importantly it gives them the opportunity to enjoy the social and physical benefits fishing provides, as well as promoting peer support and positive social interaction.
“Different students had different levels of experience,” said Jonathan. “Some of them had never fished before while others were quite skilled and experienced. It resulted in the more experienced helping out the inexperienced, which adds to the social element of it all.”
Recfishwest Fishing Clinics Coordinator Sedin Hasanovic, who has been running the clinics with fellow instructor, Kim Burton said, “Time and time again, we see young people come alive with a rod in their hand at these fishing clinics and the Youth Futures students are no exception. Fishing is such a highly engaging activity and as well as showing them how to fish, our clinics teach participants about fishing sustainably, looking after the environment and being SunSmart.
“It’s been fantastic to see these young people from some tough backgrounds getting into fishing so much – hopefully it can give them some relief from some of the challenges they have to face and maybe sew the seeds for a lifelong passion for fishing just like we have.”
Seven fishing clinics, for young people aged between 12-14 years, took place over the school’s first semester of 2023 at a number of locations in the Swan River, along with metro-based ocean marinas and jetties.
Another 11 fishing clinics are planned for the second semester of 2023 for the schools’ 15-18-year-olds, with a view to making the Next Cast program a permanent fixture of Youth Futures.
Granting wishes to great local projects
Since the Community Grants program began in 2011, Recfishwest has proudly provided more than $500,000 in funding for more than 200 fishing clinics, equipment upgrades, safety training and numerous community-driven fishing projects thanks to funding through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) and supported by DPIRD.
Outside of our core funding contribution from recreational fishing licence fees via DPIRD, a growing range of valued partners are helping us do more for West Aussie fishers in 2023. Without additional support for projects that make fishing better, we couldn’t do as much as we do in Australia’s largest state making fishing better for 700,000 fishers each year.
We would also like to thank our 2022/23 Business Supporters, who contribute to our organisation and the work we do on the ground in WA – a massive thank you to those businesses. You can check out our Business Supporters here. If you would like to be a 2023/34 Business Supporter, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a look at our 2023 Supporting Partners and the programs they are supporting to make fishing better in WA:
Shimano – community and sustainability
Shimano is supporting sustainable fishing practices in WA, through its backing of the Recfishwest fishing rules app with near to 90,000 users of the latest version! Shimano’s support helps ensure the app remains free for everyone and plays a vital role in the sustainability of our fish stocks.
Our SunSmart Fishing Clinics are also proudly supported by Shimano, seeing a need to support grassroots fishing and get WA kids in the outdoors wetting a line. Recfishwest SunSmart Fishing Clinics introduces children and families to fishing, getting people outdoors, promoting sustainable, safe fishing practices and connecting families to the fish they catch.
The partnership with Shimano also extends to helping us run and promote our Salmon Slam competition – the biggest land-based fishing comp in Australia! The comp taps into the mighty salmon run up the WA coast, helping fishers get onto one of the world’s best land-based sportfish on some of the world’s best beaches.
Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries – industry investment
The State Government, through the Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries, is a major supporter of Recfishwestand our aspirations of achieving top shelf governance and representing fishing communities through greater participation and providing enhanced opportunities and experiences for all West Aussies.
Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC) – research and development
FRDC supports Recfishwest’s quest to better understand how we can enhance marine habitats through repurposing alternative and recycled materials to form productive artificial reefs in local WA waters. Man-made structures in the marine environment are scientifically proven to create fantastic fish habitats which can as a result play an important role in providing fishing communities access to abundant fish stocks and great fishing.
Traditionally, reef projects around Australia have been funded by public money through government agencies, in particular regional development, research or fisheries grants. More recently in WA, new reefs such as Exmouth’s King Reef (pictured above), have been brought to life through funding partnerships between government, not-for-profit and other private/industry sectors. Finding ways and protocols to source alternative materials to create habitat enhancement structures is critical in maximising the benefits artificial reefs can create for our oceans and communities.
FRDC funding is helping us to investigate how we can do this more effectively through our research project Artificial Reefs: Suitability of recycled materials for integration into purpose built artificial reefs for enhancing marine productivity, biodiversity and social outcomes.
Woodside –community and sustainability
Woodside is supporting Recfishwest’s activities in North-West WA through a number of community programs, which are outlined below.
Fishing for Science (Dampier, Onslow and Exmouth)
Fishing for Science is a community–focused program giving regional fishers a better understanding of the fish species that underpin their prized fishing experiences. Operating mainly through fishing tournaments, this kind of engagement program promotes greater community stewardship of the ocean and its resources. It also empowers fishers to play a more informed role in the management of our fisheries.
Community fishing clinics (Dampier and Cossack):
Recfishwest fishing clinics introduce children and families to fishing, getting people outdoors, promoting sustainable, safe fishing practices and connecting families to the fish they catch – nurturing great stewards of the marine environment for now and the future.
Recfishwest connecting with Aboriginal groups and communities in the North-West (Dampier, Onslow, Exmouth) through fishing:
Recfishwest is building our capacity to better understand local Aboriginal people’s culture in WA and bring theirs and the fishing communities together around common interests and values. Connection between cultures is best fostered through shared values, such as a love for fishing as a way of life, access to fishing areas and the sustainability of fishing environments.
Healthway – community SunSmart fishing clinics
Recfishwest SunSmart fishing clinics are proudly funded by Healthway promoting the SunSmart message under a long-running partnership. These clinics have been running successfully for more than 20 years. The primary purpose of Recfishwest SunSmart Fishing Clinics is to introduce children and families to fishing, getting people outdoors, promoting sustainable, safe fishing practices and connecting families to the fish they catch – helping them become better stewards of the marine environment.
BHP – community
BHP has partnered with Recfishwest by providing funding for the future deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in local Port Hedland waters. FADs are a great type of fishing experience designed to attract larger pelagic species such as dolphinfish and tuna. These species are fast–growing, abundant and a great source of protein for the tables of WA fishing families.
DAIWA – community
Daiwa is again supportingRecfishwest’sStatewide community fish stocking program. Well-planned, practical, science-backed fish stocking and stock enhancement activities can support great fishing for the Western Australian community and Daiwa is helping us achieve this vision.
Santos – Community and Capacity Building
Santos is supporting the expansion of Recfishwest and its capacity in the Pilbara through an on-the-ground representative based in the Karratha/Dampier community. This will help foster more engaged and better represented fishing communities in WA’s North-West. Recfishwest’s move into the Pilbara was discussed and supported as a positive development with local stakeholders.
We are always open to welcoming new partners on board to help us enhance fishing in WA while helping achieve their objectives through a strong working collaboration with Recfishwest and fishing communities. We have an array of programs that need support right across WA so if you’d like to help make fishing better, get in touch.
Whiting, herring, flounder, skippy, tarwhine and black bream were just some of the fantastic fish that put big smiles on the dials of our next generation of fishers taking part in our Southern Tour of SunSmart fishing clinics.
Run in partnership with Healthway and supported by Shimano, the tour saw Recfishwest host 10 free fishing clinics in south coast estuaries, rivers and marinas showcasing the variety of fish kids can enjoy catching in these special environments and why these clinics are so important for local communities.
Free of charge and with all gear provided, kids spent two hours learning fishing tips and tricks from the pros at Bremer Bay, Albany, Denmark, Walpole and Augusta, with Recfishwest Operations Team Member John Dempsey and DBCA’s Stephen Crane teaching the kids about the basics of fishing, fish handling tips, the importance of fishing sustainably and the value of the waterways.
“It’s great to see these Southern Tours brimming with excited kids and their families coming along to experience safe, accessible and rewarding fishing sessions – you can see how important fishing is for communities on the south coast,” said John.
“Not only do these healthy estuarine environments provide ideal nursery habitats, but they also lead to great fishing and impressive catches – we certainly had our hands full keeping up with the number of fish being landed!
“In addition to all the valuable fishing knowledge these clinics have provided, they also focus on keeping kids safe under the sun and we’re grateful to Healthway for helping us continue to run these great community events.”
Were you one of the young guns getting amongst the fishing action? Check out some of the great snaps from some of our recent SunSmart fishing clinics below!
Recfishwest’s next fishing clinic will take place between 8:00am-10:00am, 22 April at A.P Hinds Reserve in Bayswater, come wet a line with us!