It’s been a big year for fishing in WA– 300,000 barramundi released in Lake Kununurra, a new State-wide FADs trial and officially evaluating rec fishing as being worth $2.4 billion annually to the W.A. economy – to name just three huge wins.
It’s a good time to reflect on the year and recognise the great contributions of some of the unsung heroes in the recfishing community.
The fishing community is made up of many dedicated, passionate and hardworking people who often don’t get recognised for the tireless work they do. Our recfishing sector benefits from people standing up for what they believe in, sharing their passion and developing new and innovative ways of promoting the diverse array of fishing experiences we have in WA. With their support and outstanding contributions, we’re confident the future of WA recfishing looks bright.
It is with great pleasure that the Recfishwest team celebrates individuals and groups within the fishing community who help make fishing better, by recognising them through our inaugural annual Recfishwest Community Awards. The recipients of the awards are as follows:
CLUB, GROUP OR ASSOCIATION RECOGNITION AWARD
This award is in recognition of a club, group or association that are regarded as community champions shaping the fishing future for their local community and making outstanding contributions towards improving fishing experiences. The recipient of this award has proactively searched for new opportunities and continually striven for better fishing opportunities in the hope that locals and visitors can catch that fish of a lifetime, every time.
We would like to congratulate the Lake Kununurra Barramundi Stocking Group as the recipient of this award for their stocking and tagging efforts over the past year. With the help of North Regional TAFE, these local champions have worked passionately to get more barramundi stocked into Lake Kununurra. The group has also tagged hundreds of barra in the lake to track their growth and development over time to ensure barramundi fishing has a bright future in the East Kimberley.
It is a fitting tribute to the hard work and vision of the local community over the last 20 years that Lake Kununurra is now regarded as a world-class trophy barramundi fishery. Well done to all those involved. Read more about this fishery here.
ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY RECOGNITION AWARD
This award gives recognition for environmental initiatives implemented to support recreational fishing experiences. As environmental sustainability becomes increasingly important for communities and the recreational fishing industry, it’s important we lead the way in sustainable innovation, practices and projects to protect what we all love for future generations to come.
We are thrilled to present this award to Ecotone Consulting for their work on ways to improve the sustainability of WA’s iconic marron fishery through research, breeding and stocking.
The project saw Pemberton Freshwater Research Centre (PFRC) staff capture marron as part of a breeding trial to that released thousands of tiny ‘crayling’ (juvenile marron) into Harvey Dam, a popular recreational marron fishing location. The trial’s success allowed Recfishwest to convince the Government to invest recreational fishing licence fees into stocking 300,000 marron into popular fishing dams over the next three years. This commitment is a huge first step toward the dream we share with the community of giving recfishers and families the opportunity to go marroning every weekend and every school holiday. Read more about the marron stocking projects here and here.
PROJECT RECOGNITION AWARD
This award recognises projects that not only deliver great fishing outcomes for the community but also break new ground through innovation and paves the way for similar projects into the future. Delivering meaningful, innovative and long lasting projects for the community is vital to ensure the ongoing development of our fishing is maintained and enhanced.
The Project Recognition Award goes to Subcon for their outstanding efforts to help drive and deploy Exmouth’s King Reef, Australia’s first Integrated Artificial Reef.
The King Reef project brings together a long held community vision, world-leading engineering solutions and science to benefit the environment and the recreational fishing community of Exmouth. King Reef is now proving to be the fastest developing artificial reef in the country, with over 90 species seen in the reef since it was deployed.
Lead by Matt Allen, Subcon’s passion for artificial reef development is not new to WA, with the Esperance Artificial Reef and the giant Perth Fish Towers also coming under the Subcon brand. By harnessing re-purposed steel structures donated from BHP and augmenting them with purpose-built concrete reef modules, Subcon’s influence on King Reef will provide a legacy for the Exmouth community forever. As national leaders in artificial reef engineering, Subcon has helped provide safe, accessible and enjoyable fishing experiences to local and travelling fishers. Read more about King Reef in the following stories:
FISHING EVENT RECOGNITION AWARD
This award recognises a WA-hosted event which demonstrates growth and agility towards an ever changing and growing recreational fishing sector. The event must significantly contribute to the regional economy by being a major draw-card for the region and attempts to cater for varying levels of fishing abilities.
This award is being presented to Carnar-fin, one of WA’s premier fishing events, held in Carnarvon each year and organised by the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce. Carnar-fin is an annual fishing competition open to recreational fishers of all skill levels, and has been held in the last week of May since its inception in 1992.
The competition attracts a wide range of fishers from the region and around the state and injects an estimated $600,000 into the Carnarvon economy every year.
The event is different from many others in the sense that all fish that are to be weighed in have to be gutted, gilled and in good condition. This ensures that any fish caught and weighed in, is then not wasted and remains in good eating condition. This is a great example of fishers demonstrating best practice with their catch.
The event is sponsored and supported by a large number of local businesses, highlighting the importance of the event and the value these sponsors see in Carnar-fin to the town and to the region.
COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD
The Recfishwest Community Champion Award recognises an outstanding individual who demonstrates leadership and commitment towards the betterment of recreational fishing in their local community.
It is with great pleasure we congratulate Steve Riley – Co-owner of Exmouth Tackle and Camping Supplies, for his exceptional work to make fishing better in Exmouth, particularly in his hard work to push for an artificial reef to provide safe accessible and enjoyable fishing for small boats, families and tourists within the Exmouth Gulf.
For those of you who have travelled to Exmouth to enjoy the great outdoors, or have had the opportunity to have a go at the variety of great fishing opportunities, you’ve probably run into Steve – known as one of Exmouth’s great fishing characters.
Steve lives and breathes fishing. But most important is Steve’s enthusiasm to share his fishing knowledge and encourage everyone to have a go at the great fishing that Exmouth coastline has to offer.
Steve has been awarded the Community Champion award for his exceptional work in all facets of the King Reef Artificial Reef Project in Exmouth. Steve championed for a reef many years ago, and gained local support, applied for funding, and provided local advice on the best location for the reef. Now he is actively involved in the Exmouth Reef Vision monitoring program for King Reef and provides on ground support to volunteers.
Recfishwest would like to once again congratulate the recipients of the 2019 Recfishwest Recognition Awards and we thank them for the contributions they’ve made toward recreational fishing.