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.

$5 licence fee increase to take effect from 1st July

Following the 2018/19 state budget all recreational fishing licence fees will increase by $5 from 1st July.  The reason given for this increase in licence fees is to assist with the costs associated with fisheries management and the Minister for Fisheries has promised there will be no more licence fee increases during this term of Government.

Recfishwest does not support this fee increase, we were not consulted about it, we don’t believe the need for it has been adequately explained and we have concerns it may reduce fishing participation.

Recfishwest has informed the government that addressing known inefficiencies in the current recreational fishing budget, reviewing the entire licence framework to make licence fees more equitable and investing in projects to increase participation rates in licenced fisheries are all much better options to assist with the costs associated with managing recreational fishing.

Fishing is an integral part of the Australian lifestyle, it provides far reaching social, economic and wellbeing benefits and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure the community have reasonable access to the publically owned fish resources of Western Australia.  Just as the government do not expect surfers and swimmers to pay for shark patrols, bike riders to pay for cycle paths or the community to pay for managing Kings Park they should not expect fishers to pay for managing fishing.  Recreational fishing should be managed in a similar way to National Parks where users are expected to contribute a fee towards management costs while recognising full cost recovery is unreasonable and not a target of government.

Recfishwest understand there are significant costs involved in managing fishing and we will support good policy to assist with meeting some of these costs however recreational fishers currently provide the government with $8 million per year in licence fees and are already contributing more than their fair share towards the cost of managing Western Australia’s publically owned fish resources.

New Pricing from 1st July for recreational fishing licences below:

  • Fishing from boat – $40
  • Rock Lobster- $50
  • South-west freshwater angling – $50
  • Net fishing (haul, set, throw) – $50
  • Abalone – $50
  • Marron – $50

A licence is not required when line fishing from beaches and jetties.

Breaking News – Licence Fees To Increase

Recfishwest Media Statement

11 May 2018

Deja vu for WA Fishers as the Government get their Hooks into Licence Fees –  Again.

  • Second fishing licence fee increase in 12 months
  • Recfishwest was not consulted
  • Recfishwest will be pushing hard to ensure every cent of the additional money delivers maximum benefit to the fishing community

Despite promising no surprises in this year’s budget, recreational fishers will be in for an unpleasant surprise when they come to renew their fishing licences after another $5 increase in the cost of each of the fishing licences was announced.  This is the second $5 rise in fishing licence fees in the last 12 months.

Recfishwest do not support these increases, we were not consulted about them, we don’t believe they are necessary and we have not been advised how the additional money will be used.

Recfishwest Acting Chief Executive Officer Leyland Campbell said that the Government have made the wrong decision.

“If revenue is a genuine concern to Government, we believe there are far better options to assist with the cost of managing recreational fishing, such as addressing known inefficiencies in the current recreational fishing budget, reviewing the entire licence framework, or investing in projects to increase participation rates in licenced fisheries”

“Increasing recreational fishing licence fees should not be the first option considered.  Not many businesses would survive if they simply looked to raise prices every time they wanted more money.”

Recfishwest understand there are significant costs involved in managing recreational fishing, however fishers already contribute more than their fair share towards the cost of managing recreational fishing through $8 million in licence fees they currently provide the government every year.

“I don’t know of any other group that contributes so much towards managing their recreational activity and unfortunately as costs have gone up, the service that is being provided has gone down.”

In the last 12 months recreational fishing priority projects have been delayed, reviews of important recreational fisheries have stalled, management changes to improve fishing are not being progressed and now when someone buys a fishing licence they are not provided with a rule book to help them understand what they are and are not allowed to do.

“Any increase in fees should be accompanied by an equivalent increase in service. This did not happen last time the government raised fees and there is no reason to believe service will improve with the new fee increases.”

Recfishwest fears participation rates could even fall as many people are now likely to think twice about whether they can afford to go fishing or worse, they may choose to fish without a licence placing them in danger of prosecution.

Recfishwest will be pushing hard to ensure every cent of the additional $1 million the Government will receive from this increase, plus the additional $1 million they are already receiving from last year’s fee increase is accounted for and delivers maximum benefit to the fishing community.

Although the Minister has promised there will be no more increases in licence fees during this term of Government this promise will be of no comfort to fishers who were already paying the highest recreational fishing fees in the country.

New Pricing for recreational fishing licences below:

Fishing from boat (statewide) $35 + $5 = $40

Rock Lobster  $45 + $5 = $50

South-west freshwater angling $45 + $5 = $50

Net fishing (haul, set, throw) $45 + $5 = $50

Abalone $45 + $5 = $50

Marron $45 + $5 = $50