In August, Recfishwest expressed “bitter disappointment” after the State Government accepted the Westport Taskforce’s flawed recommendation to build a new port in Cockburn Sound. Continue reading “Seeking answers around the future of Cockburn Sound fishing from key decision-makers”
It’s always great to see a fishery management plan work – and thanks to careful management of the metro abalone fishery with the State’s 17,500-plus licensed abalone fishers sticking to the rules – WA abalone fishers can now enjoy an extra day of abalone fishing in the metro this season.
“You’ll always get the nay-sayers and doubters, but today’s announcement by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley is proof-positive that in the five years since fishing days were reduced, metro abalone stocks have recovered sufficiently to allow for a fifth day of fishing to be restored,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.
In the announcement this morning, Minister Tinley confirmed that licensed recfishers can now catch abalone from Guilderton to Busselton across five Saturdays between 7am and 8am on these days:
– 12 December.
– 9 January.
– 23 January.
– 6 February.
– 20 February.
From stock devastation to stock recovery
“It’s a great result for ab aficionados across the metro, after a decision was made in 2015 to protect abalone stocks by reducing the bag limit from 20 to 15 and adding in a 20-tonne total allowable catch limit that effectively reduced the season from five to four days,” Dr Rowland said.
The fishing effort reduction came on the back of the marine heatwave in 2010/11 that had a devastating impact on metro abalone stocks.
Over the past few years, though, metro abalone stocks have been showing positive signs of recovery in the past few seasons.
Dr Rowland said data gathered by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists showed recruitment levels of Roe’s abalone in metro waters have now returned to pre-heatwave levels.
“Thankfully, this isn’t one of those occasions where we have to wait years to get an obvious change to fishing rules,” Dr Rowland said.
“We will continue to look at more ways to improve your access to abalone as the stocks continue to improve including returning the bag limit to 20.
“That said, things are definitely moving in the right direction for this great fishery on the doorstep of our capital city.”
- Long-awaited metro reef gets the green light for early 2021, 7km off Ocean Reef;
- First modules poured for Carnarvon Reef with consultation about to begin for Albany artificial reef;
- Second year of FADs trial program about to launch in the bottom half of the State, including FADs going in off Geraldton.
Today, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland joined the Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley at Subcon — Blue Solutions’ yard in Henderson to announce that the long-awaited north metro artificial reef has got the green light for deployment 7km off Ocean Reef in early 2021.
So, it’s not every day you get a new fishing spot given to you for free – but if you’ve got a boat and you fish in the metro area, get these coordinates in your plotter now!
This is the centre-point for the new north metro ‘array’ off Ocean Reef. To be based in 27m of water, the reef will be comprised of 292 purpose-designed concrete modules ranging in height from 0.7m to 1.8m and cover an area of 15ha – that’s a space roughly equivalent to four Optus Stadiums.
Constructed by Subcon — who have a strong track-record in artificial reef design and deployment across Australia — this will be the seventh artificial reef to be deployed across WA.
“Experience shows it won’t be long at all before the modules accumulate marine growth that will quickly begin to support new fish habitat,” Dr Rowland said.
“With species like pink snapper, yellowtail kingfish, Samson fish and skippy predicted to make the reef system home, it won’t be long either before the reef is creating safe and accessible, great new fishing opportunities for small boat owners.
“We know these structures evolve quickly as habitat through our Reef Vision program which sees hours of video footage collected by volunteers using underwater cameras dropped on artificial reefs capturing the structures’ development.”
Check out our latest Reef Vision footage from Exmouth’s King Reef at the two-year point in its development.
Recfishwest would have liked to have seen the north metro reef go in sooner than this, as there has been a great appetite for it from the local recfishing community – but securing Commonwealth environmental approvals for the reef was held up for a number of reasons including COVID.
“Nevertheless, we have got here and the deployment of the metro reef will mark a great start to 2021, as well as the beginning of the next chapter in the State-wide artificial reef program.
This exciting stage sees consultation beginning with the Albany community next month about their artificial reef project and the first Carnarvon artificial reef modules being poured.
Also, bubbling away in the background is research and discussions with oil and gas companies around the possibility of reefing some of their marine infrastructure on the North West artificial shelf which already holds a spectacular array of fish biomass and biodiversity as Fisheries Research and Development Corporation recently reported.
Meanwhile, Recfishwest are preparing to kick off the second year of our trial State-wide FADs program which, building on from the success and lessons learnt from last year’s run, will see FADs going in off the metro, Cape Naturaliste and Albany.
“I am also very pleased to let you know we will be deploying FADs off Geraldton this year, with the devices expected to be going in the water in December,” Dr Rowland said.
“We’ll be bringing you more details about the FADs deployment in the next couple of weeks – but just with artificial reefs and FADs alone, there are already some exciting fishing enhancing developments in the pipeline. We’re also working hard to deliver some other projects this summer too – so stay tuned and watch this space.”
If you haven’t fished Kununurra, there’s one million reasons why you should – barramundi!
Packing the car to the brim with fishing gear before setting out on a fishing adventure can often prove more difficult than actually catching a fish. Continue reading “New van to drive Fishability forward to help get more people fishing”
Recfishwest welcomes today’s announcement by the Premier Mark McGowan and Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley of a multi-million-dollar package focused on fishing including three new artificial reefs, fish stocking programs and celebrating WA’s world-class fishing.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said today’s package would greatly improve fishing enjoyment, assist the recreational fishing sector get back on track with generating its $2.4 billion annual spend and see WA’s 750,000 fishers play a role in helping get our great State back on its feet.
“It’s great to see the Premier and the State Government recognise the importance of fishing and the key role it has in contributing to our economy, our lifestyle and the health and wellbeing of the one in three West Aussies who go fishing each year,” he said.
WATCH: Premier McGowan reveals recfishing package
“Artificial reefs installed along our coast over the past six years from Esperance to Exmouth have been brilliant for fishing.
“Underwater fishing playgrounds like the King Reef installed off Exmouth are bursting with marine life and create new fish habitat, increase fish productivity, are good for the environment, good for tourism, good for regional economies and, most importantly, provide more places to go fishing.
“To have three new reefs earmarked in this announcement over the next three years really is exciting news for fishers and the Albany community in particular will be buzzing with this news.”
Today’s announcement will also boost fish stocking programs over the next three years including the well-established and successful Lake Kununurra barramundi stocking program.
“This will see millions of fish released into WA waters and support existing fish stocking programs giving a huge boost to the popular barramundi stocking program in the Kimberley where the 850,000 fingerlings released into Lake Kununurra over the last seven years are now resulting in fish over a metre being caught on a regular basis,” Dr Rowland said.
Click here to view all the fish stocking programs we’ve done over the years!
“It will also allow us to develop exciting new innovative stocking programs releasing popular sportfish like yellowtail kingfish in metro waters.
“Well-managed fish stocking programs can play an important role in future-proofing our fish stocks by helping increase fish abundance, as well as creating great new fishing opportunities.
“We have great fishing here in WA and by delivering exciting fishing trails we can help fishers discover new adventures along the expansive 12,000km coastline in our own backyard.
“It’s great to see the Government getting behind fishing and we are already looking forward to hitting the ground running tomorrow and working with Government to turn these great initiatives into a reality and continuing to make fishing even better in WA for all West Aussies.”