The Threads Connecting Community Spirit

The fishing in Roebuck Bay has never been better. Fishers exploring the flats and creeks within the bay are being rewarded for their efforts with many quality fish encountered each session. Threadfin salmon over a metre are fast becoming common among a fishers daily catch. The abundance of these world-class, trophy-sized fish must be seen to be believed. Fishing clubs and competitions can be the lifeblood of regional communities and Broome is no different.  The awesome fishing in Broome’s Roebuck Bay plays an important role in connecting the community together in a shared love of fishing.

Barra fishing has never been better in Roebuck Bay

Fisheries management changes in 2013 have allowed for iconic species such as threadfin salmon and barramundi to thrive, with record catches a common occurrence. The two Broome fishing clubs have held and continue to hold, many fishing competitions capitalising on the sensational fishing. Recent events include the monthly Big Five 2019 competition, ran by the Broome North fishing club where the key species – threadfin, mangrove jack, bluebone, blue lined and trevally see fishers target these fantastic fish over a month period hoping to take out the grand prize; the Threadfin Shootout held by Broome fishing club, and the Thready Kick-off Comp held by Broome North Fishing Club. The results of these events can be viewed by following these pages on social media. These competitions are becoming more successful with bigger and better fish being caught each year. The Broome Fishing Clubs Christmas Tinny Comp also utilises the great fishing within the bay, that’s so accessible to small boat fishers. Participants in these regional events often relish the social side of the event, where fishers get together and share the stories of fishing with one another, helping to bring together regional communities like Broome.

Jourdain (Jeda) Ellens, Skipper of Makaira Game Fishing Charter with a HUGE black jewfish

Threadfin fishing has benefited the most from the 2013 management changes, with threadfin becoming evidently more plentiful for fishers within the area. Threadfin, for those unfamiliar with this species, are a superb fighting fish that taste sensational on the plate. Broome Fishing Club stalwart Ben Little recently caught a 3.45kg giant threadfin salmon on fly using a 3kg tippet. This was later confirmed as a World Record by the International Game Fishing Association. Ben describes fishing in the area as “the best I’ve ever seen it. When you head out you’re almost guaranteed a fish – whether you’re a fly, bait or lure fisher – from your boat or from shore, it’s just awesome!” To read more about the record catch click here.

A healthy threadfin from Roebuck Bay

The fishing’s better when the fish are biting, and Roebuck Bay is testament to what can be achieved through managing fish stocks to be healthy and abundant. Whilst previous management arrangements were biologically sustainable, they did not allow stocks to grow to a size that supports such extraordinary fishing experiences for the community. Kimberley fishing guide Michael Tropiano describes the bay as “unique spot” and says it’s “easily the best threadfin salmon fishing in the Kimberley and probably the country.”

Makaira Game Fishing operator Jourdain Ellens has fished Roebuck bay for 10 years now and says  “since the net buy-out, the quantity and quality of these fish has gone through the roof!” Mr Ellens says “the average size of the fish has increased significantly and with more big breeders around, there has also been a lot more juveniles around too. Towards the end of 2018 there were also some reefs in the bay that were inundated with 40-50cm black jewfish, indicating some successful spawning events occurring not long ago.”

A superb threadfin salmon caught in Roebuck bay

Mr Ellens also noted the incredible increase of Barramundi being caught within the bay. “After a reasonable wet season in 2016/2017 followed up by an exceptional wet in 2017/2018, Roebuck Bay’s barramundi fishery has exploded. Late 2018 (Sept – Dec) produced some of the best barra fishing numbers I have seen in recent years from the bay. Throughout those months it was quite common to catch 20+ Barra on a day charter all within a stone’s throw of Broome. The majority of fish averaged 50-70cm but there was more than enough fish being landed in the 80 – 100cm size range to keep things interesting and fishers smiling!”

There has never been a better time to visit Broome and experience the first class fishing on offer close to the town. Whether it’s from the shore or from a boat, there is plenty of fishing opportunities available thanks to increased abundances of highly valued recreational species. If you’ve looking to plan your next fishing trip, Roebuck bay might be the place for you! So next time you’re in Broome consider entering a fishing competition, join in on the fun while connecting with the locals, you never know, maybe you’ll even go home a champion fisher with a story to tell for years to come.

Follow the clubs on Facebook to stay up to date on the competitions that run throughout the year.

Jourdain (Jeda) Ellens with a fish of a lifetime for any fisher!

World Record Threadfin in Roebuck Bay!

Here’s what we sent in our Members First email last week.


It’s with great pleasure that I present to our Members a World Record catch!

Recfishwest Member and Broome Fishing Club stalwart Ben Little, landed this 3.45kg threadfin salmon on fly on 3kg tippet in Roebuck Bay, Broome, back in April 2018. Ben received official confirmation of his world record status from the International Game Fishing Association yesterday.

Although threadfin salmon grow much bigger, recent high abundances in Roebuck Bay gave Ben the opportunity to pursue this Fly-caught World Record. Here’s Ben below with a cracking Roebuck Bay specimen caught in 2014.

So why is this so important? Fishing in Roebuck Bay is currently the best in living memory – but this wasn’t always the case!

Fisheries management changes that removed commercial netting in Roebuck Bay back in 2013, has allowed for iconic species such as threadfin salmon and barramundi to thrive, with record catches a common occurrence.

Ben’s World Record threadfin was caught at a spot called ‘The Fingers’, known previously to be an average fishing spot due to low abundances of threadfin and barramundi.

Ben said the threadfin fishery in the bay, on the doorstep of Broome, has been exceeding all expectations since 2013 and can only be described as World Class – with shore based fishers now catching fish up to 95cm!

“It’s the best I’ve ever seen it. When you head out you’re almost guaranteed a fish – whether you’re a fly, bait or lure fisher – from your boat or from shore, it’s just awesome!!”

Although Ben’s fish wasn’t released, he was fishing that day as part of a recreational fishing licence money funded project involving indigenous custodians the Yawuru people tagging threadfin salmon for science, to understand their population and movements in Roebuck Bay.

It’s amazing to watch this fishery evolve into one of ‘World Class’ status and great to see the fishery managed in a way that maximises the value to the community.

So next time you’re in Broome, chat to the locals, head to the fishing club, drop into the tackle stores and ask how you can catch yourself a threadfin in Roebuck Bay!

WA Needs More Fishing Heroes!

Our Purpose is to ensure Great Fishing Experiences for all in the WA community forever.
Our Commitment is to Protect, Promote and Develop Sustainable, Accessible, Enjoyable and Safe fishing for the benefit of the community.

Thanks to our current supporters, Recfishwest can continue the fight to keep fishing great in WA.

Our role is to: 
– Be your voice that would not otherwise be heard
– Be the voice of the fish that otherwise goes unheard or ignored
– Keep you informed of all thing affecting your fishing, 24/7; we believe you need to know!
– Strive to ensure you and your family return home safe after a day’s fishing
– Defend your fishing rights when your local fishing spot is under threat
– Fight when access to fishing areas is put at risk
– Roll up our sleeves and find a solution when no one else will.

Contribute to what we do and support us, become a member and let us do the hard yakka on your behalf.  We don’t make profits here at Recfishwest and we make sure all our resources go directly towards our action to protect, promote and develop our fishing environments and to keep you fishing.

To give you an idea of where your support helps us make fishing better:
• Stocking of important recreational fish species around WA, including Pink Snapper, Barramundi, Prawns, Mulloway and Freshwater Trout
• Development, design and deployment of Artificial Reefs in Western Australia
• Development of important fishing research and conservation programs
• Development of WA’s ‘Fish and Survive’ program, to ensure all fishers come home safe after a day’s fishing
• Delivery of WA’s only state-wide fishing clinic program to thousands of kids in both metro and regional areas

A strong membership base allows us to pursue matters that affect your fishing with added confidence knowing you’ve got our back, just like we’ve got yours!

For just 50c per week, you can help us protect and develop fishing experiences in Western Australia, for the community forever.

Roebuck Bay Marine Park a Win for Fishing

Recfishwest welcomes the final management plan for the Roebuck Bay Marine Park, which has retained unrestricted recreational fishing access. The plan was announced by Premier Colin Barnett and we believe it strikes the perfect balance between recreation and conservation, illustrating that recreational fishing is compatible with conservation goals.

It provides increased protection for the conservation values of Roebuck Bay while maintaining recreational fishing access to this vitally important area. This further builds on the massive advances in conservation made by the removal of commercial netting a couple of years ago, which has provided a massive boost to Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon fishing in the Bay.
Although there has been some opposition to the plan from those who wanted sanctuary zones and fishing lockout restrictions, we believe it compliments current fisheries management and has struck October a good balance between restoring, protecting and managing natural values of Roebuck Bay while allowing recreational use for all stakeholders.

It is important to note that the local community, including the traditional owners, have been extensively involved during the consultation process which led to the final management plan. Recfishwest believes the plan celebrates fishing as an extremely important and highly valued recreational and cultural activity within Roebuck Bay.

The Broome Fishing Club has welcomed the news with former club president Derek ‘Jig’ Albert saying the management arrangements to ensure great fishing and protection of the environment were currently working in Broome and the community hadn’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades. He pointed to a marked rise in key fish stocks, such as Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon, as proof current management was working.

The management plan also provides comprehensive protection for marine mammals which are already protected under the state Wildlife Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The Yawuru people will play a significant role in the joint management of this park and Recfishwest looks forward to working with both Parks and Wildlife and the Yawuru PBC in promoting stewardship of the Roebuck Bay environment.
Our commitment is to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.

Soon Kununurra will be able to provide both great impoundment and wild river fishing opportunities for visitors to the town, a unique combination sure to appeal to many anglers.
(Photos of competition courtesy of ABC Kimberley)

Roebuck Bay Marine Park: Where Conservation and Recreation Join Forces

MEDIA RELEASE
7 October 2016

Roebuck Bay Marine Park: Where Conservation and Recreation Join Forces
Recfishwest welcomes today’s release of the final management plan for Yawuru Nagulagun/Roebuck Bay Marine Park by the Premier, Hon Colin Barnett. This plan provides increased protection for the conservation values of Roebuck Bay while maintaining recreational fishing access to this vitally important area on the door step of Broome.

Recfishwest supports measures that sustain and protect healthy oceans and quality fishing experiences. The management plan announced today provides a win for both conservation and the community and demonstrates recreational fishing is compatible with marine conservation objectives.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said the plan celebrates fishing as an extremely important and highly valued recreational and cultural activity within Roebuck Bay.

“The management plan compliments current fisheries management and has struck a good balance between restoring, protecting and managing natural values of Roebuck Bay while allowing recreational use for all stakeholders”, said Dr Rowland.

“Current fisheries management in Roebuck Bay has resulted in fishing experiences being the best in living memory and has gone from strength to strength in the bay since the removal of commercial netting in late 2013.”

Former Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert said management arrangements that ensure great fishing and protection of the environment are currently working in Broome and the community haven’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades.

“We’ve seen a marked rise in key fish stocks, namely Barramundi and Threadfin Salmon, so the proof is in the pudding in terms of current management working,” Mr Albert said.

The management plan also provides comprehensive protection for marine mammals which are already protected under the state Wildlife Conservation Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The new management plan is also important in fulfilling the cultural aspirations of the Yawuru people who will play a significant role in the joint management of this park. Recfishwest supports the Management Plan and look forward to working with both Parks and Wildlife and the Yawuru PBC in promoting stewardship of the Roebuck Bay environment.

Our commitment is to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.

ENDS________________________________________
MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Grose, 9246 3366 or tim@recfishwest.org.au

Sanctuary Zone Not Needed In Roebuck Bay

‘When the community’s  ability to access sustainable fisheries is jeopardised, we will do everything we can to ensure decisions are made with adequate science and social considerations’

The fishing in Roebuck Bay hasn’t always been as good as it is now, in fact some say it’s the best ever.

A continued push to introduce a sanctuary zone in Roebuck Bay bemused local fishers from the Broome Fishing Club as there is no evidence to support ‘no fishing areas’.

In 2013 the Government decision to purchase all of Roebuck Bay’s commercial netting licences under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy is now paying dividends and the fishing experiences are now being shared by the whole community. The government’s decision was a win for fishing in Broome and the environment of local waters.

Recfishwest’s Regional Policy Officer Matt Gillett travelled to Broome for the Broome Billfish Classic and spoke with the members and club committee on a range of issues. One of the fishing community’s key concerns is the continued push from local environmental groups for a sanctuary zone in Roebuck Bay.

‘’Hearing the concerns rings very true with Recfishwest, and as a fisher myself I have seen firsthand the quality of fishing in this area over the last few years change as the fish are returning to Roebuck Bay in big numbers’’ Matt Gillett said

‘’When the community’s ability to access sustainable fishing opportunities is jeopardised, we will do everything we can to ensure decisions are made with adequate science and social considerations. In this instance, we are confident that the fishing in Roebuck Bay is sustainable and implementing a sanctuary zone is simply not needed’’ Matt said.

Not only is the fishing fantastic, we’ve already seen important conservation activities in the Kimberley, namely the stocking of tens of thousands of Barramundi, fish tagging programs and genetic research demonstrating recreational fishers are stepping up and taking the lead to ensure healthy fish stocks.

Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert said management arrangements that ensure great fishing and protection of the environment are currently working in Broome and the community hasn’t experienced this quality of fishing in decades.

“The numbers of fish are astronomical” Broome Fishing Club President Jig Albert.

This demonstrates fishers have a vested interest in conservation and community values that allow everyone to enjoy Roebuck Bay.

Roebuck Bay Marine Park

Conservation and Community Benefit in Roebuck Bay

Recfishwest today said the release of the new Roebuck Bay Marine Park Indicative Management Plan provides a win for both conservation and the community, especially as it celebrates the role recreational fishing plays in the Kimberley.

Recfishwest CEO, Dr Andrew Rowland said the new marine park demonstrates that recreational fishing is compatible with marine conservation.
“We are pleased to see management activities focused on conserving the values that underpin good quality fishing experiences and where shared access can be enjoyed by all,” Dr Rowland said.

“We’ve already seen important conservation activities in the Kimberley, namely the stocking of the iconic Barramundi, where recreational fishers are giving back to help maintain a sustainable fishery.”

The new management plan is also important in fulfilling the cultural aspirations of the Yawuru people who will play a significant role in the planned joint management arrangements of this park.

“This type of management will bring the community closer together as it provides opportunities to share cultures around fishing.”
The management arrangements in this marine park complement the government’s 2013 decision to purchase all of Roebuck Bay’s commercial netting licences under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

Broome Fishing Club President Derek Albert said fishing in Roebuck Bay has never been better.

“The Bay is a world class fishing location, providing fantastic opportunities for safe and enjoyable fishing experiences for the whole community” Mr Albert said.
To read Environment Minister Albert Jacob’s Media Statement, click here.