New Tech to Ensure Future of Premier Fishing Event

Perth’s premier family fishing event, Swanfish, is on again this weekend, with a new direction aimed at better engaging fishers throughout the event. With a focus on catch and release fishing and for the first time ever, the use of a purpose-built smartphone app, Swanfish will provide participants with a live scoreboard and an instant method of logging their catches.

This year Swanfish will focus on catch & release fishing.

The Swanfish App, built by the team at TrackMyFish, will allow fishers to take a photo of their catch and enter it into the competition with only a few simple clicks. The app includes a live feed with photos so fishers can see in real time what’s being caught elsewhere on the river. This style of app has been utilised in other fishing events throughout Australia and has proven to be extremely useful for competitors.

The app is simple to use and free to download, simply search for ‘Swanfish’ in the App Store or Google Play.

The app will also turn all competitors into citizen scientists for the weekend, as each logged catch goes into a database which will be built on over future events. Long term data such as this is vital in providing insight into decision making around river management going forward.

The use of the app has also allowed Swanfish to change its format to a catch and release event. Whilst Swanfish has included a catch and release section for years, this new technology has allowed the event to go almost fully catch and release, with only large Mulloway able to be captured and brought to the award ceremony on the Sunday.

See what Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly had to say about the exciting new direction Swanfish is taking, read his statement here.

There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs including this Hobie Revolution 13 Kayak.

Thanks to our Swanfish sponsors, there are 20 categories and over $9000 worth in prizes. Please note you must be in attendance on Sunday at Garvey Park to win.

These changes will ensure that Swanfish continues to provide Perth families with the opportunity to connect with the river and enjoy the health and wellbeing aspects of fishing for many years to come.

To learn more about Swanfish, please visit www.swanfish.com.au

Our Valued 2018 Swanfish Sponsors

A New Direction for Swanfish in 2018

Swanfish is extremely excited to announce a new direction for our event.

The Swan River is the jewel in our city’s crown, and we’ve always promoted the community’s connection to the river through fishing. Going forward, we will be striving to highlight that connection even further and we’ve got some new and exciting announcements that we believe will ensure Swanfish has a bright future.

Image: Swanfish will be a catch and release event only.

For the first time in its history, Swanfish will be catch and release only, for all species.  There is nothing more important than the sustainability of our favourite species, and this change will ensure that the impact we have during Swanfish remains low forever.

We’re moving! Swanfish will now be held at Garvey Park, in Ascot. It’s a centralised location that has plenty of shade which we feel will make for a much better Swanfish experience for all.

We’re adopting new technology, which makes submitting your catches easier. We’re partnering with the great crew at TrackMyFish, and will be utilising their smartphone app to submit catches over the weekend.

Image: Volunteers from Fishability will be at Swanfish 2018.

We’re being more inclusive by partnering with Fishability, who offer fishing experiences for people who need help with fishing. This will ensure that anyone who wants to, can participate. Fishability will be running fishing clinics during the event to ensure that those that need help whilst fishing are given the opportunity to participate.

We’re going to teach more people to fish. We’ll be running specialised Swan River fishing clinics over the weekend to ensure that everyone can get the right knowledge to fish successfully in the Swan River.

We’re going to celebrate fishing! The traditional Sunday ‘weigh in’ will now be an event that showcases fishing clubs, tackle stores and fishing activities as well as awarding the prizes for the competition itself.

We’re very excited about what the future holds. Whilst we will be retaining the core competition elements of the event, we also want to promote it as a chance for people to come and learn about fishing in the river.

We’re grateful for the support over the years, and we look forward to seeing you at Swanfish 2018.

Banner photo credit: Perth International Boat Show.

Premier’s Position on Metro Gillnetting Spot On

Following any shark attack, there is inevitably an ill-informed call for the reintroduction of commercial gillnets between Lancelin and Mandurah under the guise of improving public safety.

Premier McGowan was recently quoted as saying the reintroduction of gillnets to the metropolitan area ‘wouldn’t make any difference’ to great white shark numbers and therefore public safety, and he is absolutely correct.

In 2007, an important decision was made by the Labor Government to remove gillnet fishing from Lancelin to Mandurah. This decision was based on sustainability and resource sharing concerns for Pink Snapper and Dhufish. This decision is still widely regarded by the recreational fishing community as the single most important and positive decision for recreational fishing by any Fisheries Minister.

The benefits of this decision are only now starting to be seen with Dhufish and Pink snapper stocks showing signs of recovery.

Every time there is a call for the reintroduction of the metropolitan shark fishery Recfishwest is inundated with calls from concerned fishers who are worried the great fishery they have worked so hard to rebuild is about to be impacted again by gillnets.

Recfishwest cares deeply about public safety and supports the Government in taking practical steps to improve safety measures related to sharks in WA however in absence of evidence linking gillnet fishing to improved safety, Recfishwest will strongly oppose any attempt to re-introduce gillnet fishing to metropolitan waters.

Recfishwest actively promotes boating and water safety initiatives as we believe all West Aussies should return home safe at the end of a day’s fishing. WA’s 140,000 recreational boat fishing licence holders have a role to play as eyes on the water especially in the early reporting of shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600.

The Facts:

• There is zero evidence to suggest gillnet fishing will lead to improved safety outcomes for the community.

• The majority of shark fatalities in W.A. have occurred in areas where gillnet fishing still occurs.

• Waters Lancelin to Mandurah was closed to gillnetting in 2007 to protect Dhufish and Pink Snapper stocks and a $5 million dollar compensation package was made available to commercial fishers at the time by the state government.

• Shark fishing with gillnets outside metro waters uses a small mesh net and lands almost 1000 tonnes of small sharks annually. The mesh used is far too small to effectively catch large sharks.

• Any reintroduction of gillnets to Perth waters will jeopardise the recovery of Pink Snapper and Dhufish stocks and is unlikely to capture a single “problem” shark.

Over 400 turn out for Perth’s Biggest Family Fishing Event

More than 400 anglers took part in the 28th staging of WA’s premier family fishing event, and there were plenty of great fish caught, but it was the presentation of the three big Mulloway which really got the big crowd buzzing at the weigh-in on the Sunday.

Kids and adults gathered around to get a closer look at the three fish, with Tim Farnell’s 18kg-plus specimen taking out that section.  As is the case nowadays, a lot of smartphones came out and there were plenty of pictures of the Mulloway taken.

But you didn’t even need to catch a fish to win big, as one shocked eight-year-old found out when he picked up $1000 cash in the lucky redraw of the cash prize that had been allocated to any tagged fish weighed in.

The little tacker didn’t even catch a fish in Swanfish, which was run by the Melville Amateur Angling Club and Recfishwest, but he and his mum went away very happy!  It was great to see all anglers taking care of their catch and it was clear all the fish which were weighed in were in great condition and nice and fresh, having been carefully handled and kept on ice after capture.

The winning black bream was weighed in live and returned to the Swan River, and was a thumper at over a kilo.  There was also a kilo-plus flathead and a tailor just under a kilo caught – great captures which highlight the health of the Swan and Canning rivers.

Some beautiful blue swimmer crabs were also weighed in, and the success of the river prawn restocking in recent years was shown by a number of lovely prawns being presented. There were some great prizes thanks to the support of Getaway Outdoors, Halco Tackle, Ugly Stik, Tackle HQ, Anglers Fishing World, Spud Shed, Coates Hire, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Fisheries were also on hand and were removing otoliths (ear bones) from black bream at the weigh-in for research.

Follow Swanfish on Facebook to stay informed.

Dhufish Boat Limit Update

There’s no more iconic fish in West Australia than a Dhufish. This fishing favourite has long been a part of West Australian culture as far back as can be remembered and in 2009 when sustainability concerns were first raised, WA fishos graciously accepted the introduction of a Dhufish boat limit, reduced bag limit and a two month closure in the West Coast Bioregion as part of efforts to reduce catches by 5o%.

At the time it was unknown if these management changes would be enough to reduce catches by 50% which was the amount deemed necessary by researchers in order to adequately protect Dhufish stocks and allow this favourite fish to recover. Since the boat limit and other management changes were introduced, catches of Dhuies have remained stable and have exceeded the sustainability target by reducing our catch by 62%. This indicates the initial 2009 management arrangements may have been set a little too high. On that basis and combined with the overwhelming community view that the boat limit of two Dhufish is inequitable for those fishing in larger groups, Recfishwest believes there is scope to increase the Dhufish boat limit in line with Dhufish recovery and the sustainability targets that have been set by Department of Fisheries researchers.

It took a few years, but in 2013 the Dhufish stocks were showing the first signs of recovery and fishers were seeing lots of smaller Dhufish indicating increased recruitment in the fishery. Fishers are pleased to see tangible results from their efforts to reduce catches. Many fishers have actively promoted the positive effects on fish stocks these management changes have had, demonstrating the high level of stewardship for this resource.

A stock assessment in 2013 confirmed some recovery of Dhufish stocks and following this report Recfishwest requested the Department of Fisheries investigate what effect increasing the boat limit would have on Dhufish stocks and target catch levels. The Department decided not to review the boat limit for Dhufish at the time, preferring to obtain more data on Dhufish from the boat ramp surveys and future stock assessments.

A study of recreational boat fishing catches released in 2015 provided Recfishwest with the confidence that our original request in 2013 was sustainable and that a change to the boat limit would not negatively impact Dhufish stocks. Once again we sought a commitment from the Department of Fisheries to investigate the effect of changes to the boat limit of Dhufish. The Department of Fisheries once again preferred to await more information.

Recfishwest is proud to announce the Department of Fisheries has now agreed to review Recfishwest’s request when information from the latest stock assessment for Dhufish becomes available later this year.

Of course, any decisions must be based on sound science using the best information available with sustainability at the forefront. Recfishwest are comfortable that an increase in the boat limit of Dhufish would still see our sectors catch remain below the level needed to ensure the continued recovery of this iconic species. This change, however, would greatly improve fishing experiences on those rare times when there are more than two fishers on board and you are all lucky enough to hook onto a Dhufish.

Recfishwest believes any increase in the number of Dhufish retained as a result of increases to the Dhufish Boat limit will have a minimum biological impact on stocks and provide a major positive impact on recreational fishing amenity. Any increase in catches will remain below the level required to ensure the sustainable recovery of Dhufish.

It’s important to remember that not all of us are lucky enough to catch multiple Dhufish every time we go fishing, but for this special occasion, we believe a group of three should each be able to take a Dhufish home to their family.

We are confident the next stock assessment will reflect the recovery that fishos have been seeing since 2013 and are hopeful management arrangements can be amended to allow an increase in the boat limit of Dhufish before the end of the West Coast Demersal Closure on December 15 this year allowing more West Aussies to enjoy a Dhufish for Christmas!