Dr Andrew Rowland, Recfishwest CEO, and Operations Officer Sam Bock were recently on the south coast listening to the concerns of local fishers about the potential impact of DBCA’s proposed marine park.
Stretching along 1,000 km of coastline from Bremer Bay to the WA/SA border, many local fishers told Andrew and Sam that the marine park already has a predefined political outcome and will be an unnecessary overreach coming out of Perth.
These concerns have been stoked by the bad publicity surrounding the consultation process to date.
While there, Andrew was also in the news on the front page of the Esperance Weekender and was on ABC Esperance, Goldfields, Mid-West and Wheatbelt calling for the consultation process to get back on track to enable a balanced outcome to be achieved.
If you want an example of how important fishing is to the south coast – look no further than Esperance and last weekend’s (March 10-12) sensational Esperance Deep Sea Angling Club’s (EDSAC) Esperance Archipelago Offshore Angling Classic.
With Samson fish tipping the scales at more than 22kg along with spectacular harlequin fish, snapper and breaksea cod — it’s no wonder more than 600 people came down to the weigh-in at Esperance’s biggest fishing comp and enjoyed a fantastic weekend of fishing and socialising!
There were 275 competing anglers on 83 boats taking part in the competition – making it one of the biggest boat fishing tournaments if not the biggest in WA.
The 30th edition of this great fishing competition proved not just to be one of the biggest community events of the year in Esperance, but also drew anglers from throughout the Great Southern and Goldfields regions.
It’s also something of a local spectacle as with competitors’ friends and family members turning out to watch the traditional competition boat ‘fleet’ running out of Esperance Bay.
The mixed bag of fish species off the south coast combined with impressive prizes for the biggest catches meant there was plenty of excitement on who would take out each prize category.
Tyson Tate’s 22.40kg Samson fish not only landed him more than $20,000 in total for the heaviest fish caught and largest Samson fish overall — but his name was also pulled out of a hat containing hundreds of other raffle contestants to win a Garmin sounder package worth more than $5,000!
See the full set of results from the Classic below.
The Esperance Classic came on the back of another firm fixture in the south coast fishing calendar — Southerners Sport Club Fishing Classic held in Hopetoun, which was celebrating its 29th edition earlier this month, with dozens of contestants landing various species to take home spectacular prizes.
The two tournaments once again highlighted how highly prized the fishing on offer on the south coast is by the people who live there and those who travel there to sample what’s on offer, with EDSAC President Corrina Worth perfectly summarising why these fishing experiences need to be safeguarded.
“We are just very privileged to be able to access some beautiful places and catch some great fish along the south coast with minimal effort. Looking after that opportunity and protecting it for future generations is very important,” said Corrina.
Recfishwest Operations Lead Matt Gillett, who was in Esperance for the comp and to talk to fishers about the Government’s proposed south coast marine park, said it was the biggest crowd he’s ever seen attending the event.
“You can’t fail to see what fishing means to this community and people in this part of the world when you attend an event like this – it’s fantastic to see how the comp brings the community together and generates such a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere.
“And that’s for anglers across the board of all ages and capabilities – that’s the power of fishing and it’s why fishing events and experiences like these must be able to continue – they’re central to the fabric of community life and regional West Aussies’ well-being.
“This is backed up by the recently published results of the National Recfishing Survey that shows fishing is highly important for improved wellbeing along with injections into our regional economies.
“These massive benefits from fishing must be dialed into marine park planning processes currently underway along the south coast because one of the purposes of parks is to maximise the benefits to the WA community from these special environments.
“Well done to all fishers who took part and made this year’s event another ripper edition of the Offshore Angling Classic and, of course, congratulations to EDSAC President Corrina Worth and her team for their hard work in hosting another cherished calendar fixture for the Esperance community.”
With fishers now preparing for the 2023 GAMEX at Exmouth which kicks off from 17-25 March, the Pilbara region in WA’s north is also set to be injected with plenty of excitement and economic contributions from visitors. Stay tuned for our full GAMEX recap!
30th Esperance Archipelago Offshore Angling Classic – the full set of results
BREAKSEA 1st Boat 79 Shane Temple 2.822kg – 2nd Boat 99 Ryan Nelson 2.591kg