Only a few hundred people a year get to visit the Rowleys due to distance and weather, which is perhaps why the Rowley Shoals remains one of the iconic fishing destinations of Western Australia, writes fishing writer, editor and ace angler Scott Coghlan in his latest Scott’s Spots column, exclusively for Recfishwest. Continue reading “Scott’s Spots – the Rowley Shoals, a remote and pristine fishing paradise”
One of Perth’s most iconic fishing spots is set to receive an almost $10 million makeover to replace its renowned, but decaying, jetty in a major victory for land-based metro anglers. Continue reading “Brand new $10 million fishing platform to replace Woodman Point’s Ammo Jetty!”
For Perth’s legions of crabbing enthusiasts, it is small consolation the Department of Health (DoH) has finally lifted their health advice around consuming fish, crabs and other shellfish from large parts of the Swan-Canning system almost two months since the toxic algae Alexandrium has been detected at levels that warrant a health alert.
For the last six months, many Perth fishers have effectively been hit with a fishing closure in large parts of the middle and lower Swan and Canning rivers due to high levels of the algae.
Starting in mid-December the DoH issued a series of alerts warning people not to eat fish, crabs and shellfish from large sections of first the Swan and then later the Canning as “ingestion of toxins produced by the microscopic algae Alexandrium could produce a type of poisoning known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).”
While there are still a few crabs around, the prime months for targeting the Swan’s famously big blue swimmer crabs are unfortunately well and truly behind us. This is the second successive year elevated levels of Alexandrium have substantially disrupted summer crabbing activities in what is the metro’s favourite fishing playground – the “jewel in the city’s fishing crown” as WA angling journalist Scott Coghlan recently described it.
In both years, the strategy to manage these algal blooms can be summed up as “monitor algae levels and wait for late autumn rain to come to flush the algae out of the system.” While Recfishwest welcomes all the sampling that has occurred over the last six months, there is a pressing need for management to do more than simply wait for winter rain. Any resource management plan worth its salt must address the needs of its stakeholders – the river is something we should all be able to enjoy and it is simply not good enough that the recfishing community is not able to access a large section of the river during the peak fishing season.
A more proactive approach required
Recfishwest wants to see a much more proactive approach to the management of the Swan-Canning system with a framework that doesn’t lock us out of the fishery for months at a time – particularly if these blooms are going to become more frequent thanks to environmental change and predicted lower river flows. An open review of the way the sampling results inform the issuing and removal of health warnings needs to take place and a much more defined and transparent set of management actions linked to agreed trigger points for algae levels needs to be developed.
Reopening Cockburn Sound to recreational crabbing
If large parts of the Swan and the Canning River become off limits for crabbing for significant periods of the year, fishers are going to need somewhere they can go and re-opening Cockburn Sound is an obvious option that should be progressed as a matter of priority. We have been told the process to buy-back commercial crab fishing licences in Cockburn Sound following management changes announced in November, is progressing, however, the impact Alexandrium is having on Swan River crabbers provides a compelling reason to fast-track this process.
Blue swimmer crabs are the number one species targeted by recfishers and the Swan-Canning system is one of the State’s most important rec fisheries. Giving recfishers access to crabbing in the Sound again would go some way to offset the loss of access to the Swan and Canning as a result of Alexandrium and would demonstrate a much better management approach than simply praying for rain.
We would like to say a big thank-you to all of our sponsors for this years Salmon Slam event!
Following the launch of our trial FADs network back in November last year, we are getting excited to be in a position to deploy four new FADs off Exmouth opening up more fantastic fishing opportunities for local and visiting boat fishers.
We were very close to rolling this latest round of FADs in our State-wide network – but with cyclonic conditions forecast in the north of the State, we took the decision to hang fire until the weather conditions settled.
But everything is in place and once the conditions are favourable, deployment will go ahead with the new FADs catering for those who intend to target a range of highly-sought after pelagic species.
While species such as dolphinfish and tuna are expected to be encountered around those FADs located closer to shore, those located further offshore are expected to attract bigger species such as wahoo, yellowfin tuna and marlin.
The Exmouth FADs deployment has been a long-time coming, with the community asking for them for a number of years and it’s another example of how recfishing licence fees can be used to create fantastic new sports fishing opportunities aggregating abundant schools of fast-growing, spectacular-fighting pelagic species.
Delivering on our FADs promise
We promised a trial State-wide FADs network and that’s exactly what we’re delivering- once they go in off Exmouth, we’ll have deployed FADs in four different locations in the southern half of the State (off the north metro, south west of Rotto, Cape Naturaliste and Albany) and Exmouth in the north, with Geraldton and Broome to follow soon.
We have also received positive reports from fishers in the south, with fish, mostly dolphinfish being caught off both the Albany and Cape Naturaliste FADs. The Perth metro FADs are also firing, with plenty of fishers getting amongst the action and landing some great dolphinfish and tuna.
Learning the lessons
This FAD program was always designed as a trial. We’ve deployed different types of FADs in different locations to assess their suitability. Unfortunately, this has meant some break-off’s. Currently, we have had two FADs break away from Albany, one of which has been replaced in a more suitable location, and one break away from south west of Rottnest, which has yet to be replaced.
Due to all our FADs having trackers placed inside them, we are able to track wayward FADs, and when conditions are suitable, we’re able to recover them with the assistance of Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan and some of our supporters in the region – thanks, guys – your efforts were greatly appreciated! We will continue to refine locations and the design of these FADs to improve their ability to aggregate fish, but to also improve their robustness. This enables them to be deployed for longer periods of time, even in particularly heavy seas, such as those experienced along the south coast.
Gero and Broome FADs coming soon
By the time you read this article, Recfishwest will be closer to deploying FADs off Geraldton and Broome. We plan on deploying one FAD closer inshore to Geraldton and the remaining three, west of the Abrolhos Islands, in the hope of attracting larger gamefish. The Broome FADs in particular are somewhat of an experiment, as we’re deploying them in shallow water, relatively close to shore making them easily accessible to fishers in all boat sizes including tinnies. This presents the tantalising prospect of opening up some great bait-holding potential to enhance fishing action for pelagic species within just a quick run-out from the shore.
Hit up the fab FADs photo comp
Want to be in the mix to win a Shimano Stella 4000 in our fabulous FADs photo comp? We have made the entry conditions as easy as possible so more of you can enter and be in for the running for this top of the line reel, which is also perfect for taming any small to medium-sized pelagics you might encounter while fishing the FADs. This competition will be running till June 30 and includes all FADs deployed across Western Australia.
So, here are some basic rules and what you need to send us to be in the running:
- A high-quality picture of a fish caught at any of the FADs deployed across the State (see contact details below);
- In your picture make sure the FAD is clearly visible in the background;
- If the fish is bleeding heavily, wash away excess blood before taking the photo;
- Fish must be caught during the competition time;
- Unlimited entries per fisher;
- Competition is open to both line and spear fishers;
- By entering you waive any intellectual rights to the image and agree to us to use the image you sent for any of our promotional materials including all of our digital channels and for any content we provide for external publications
Email in your high-quality pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, it’s over to you – get out there, give the FADS a crack and let us know how you go – we’d love to hear from you and see some of your pics of prized catches on the new FADs.
On the back of this week’s announcement by the State Premier Mark McGowan that recreational salmon fishing is worth $331 million a year to the WA economy, Recfishwest is proud and excited to announce the Awesome Autumn of Salmon – a whole season of great salmon fishing events. Continue reading “Awesome Autumn of Salmon launch brings big haul of sensational salmon fishing events for WA recfishers”
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.
We are blessed in WA with some of the best fishing found anywhere in the country. In fact, I would argue that our 12,000km coastline provides the best variety of fishing experiences in Australia, writes Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. Continue reading “Recfishwest in the Regions”
International fishing industry leaders, Shimano, have teamed up with Recfishwest to become proud supporting partners of Recfishwest’s Smartphone App. Continue reading “Shimano Australia supporting sustainable fishing in WA”