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.

WA Fishers Now Going Digital: Recfishwest App Version 2

The App is available for both iPhone and Android making it the perfect digital companion for recreational fishers, especially those wetting a line in unfamiliar waters.

Fishing new locations can often mean you are unaware of the exact identity of the fish you catch and in turn the rules and regulations for those new species.

The Recfishwest App not only allows you to identify fish through a simple three-step process based on fish shape, tail shape and colour, it then provides the recreational fishing rules for that species. For example, this could be particularly useful when dealing with different types of Emperor species through the Mid-West region.

Using the Recfishwest App, you can correctly identify any fish you catch and find out the exact size and bag limits for the relevant location. All the current recreational fishing rules for WA are in the App, so no matter what species you need to know about, the information is at your fingertips.

Some people wouldn’t have realised this, but by having the App and actively using it when you fish, you’re actually doing your part for sustainability and healthy fish stocks. If the App guides you to release your catch or outlines specific rules for that fish and your fish doesn’t comply, a swift return to the water will ensure you’re not in the wrong and the fish can live to fight another day.

The App will even send you reminders about relevant seasonal openings and closures. This information is available on your device, even when you are out of reception range making it a necessity for recreational fishers. The App will give you confidence in knowing the rules so you can focus on your fishing and best of all, it is completely free.

The app currently rates an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Apple and Google Play stores, and we have been thrilled to hear that the app is assisting fishers out on the water.

We had some positive feedback with some great suggestions to consider for Version 2. We have listened to your recommendations and worked hard to ensure the App remained fresh, up to date and included more information people want to see.

Now we’re proud to bring the community the new and improved second version of the App.  We’ve also provided some FAQ’s below, for some of the issues people are having with downloading the App.

Version 2 of the App Helping You Return You Home Safe!
– My Licence feature
– My Safety Gear feature
– Emergency Contacts
– New Species added
– Improved Fish ID
– 4.5/5 star rating in App & Google Store

In October 2016 we were extremely excited to launch Version 2 of the Recfishwest App. We have added an additional 10 species (with another 30 to be entered in the coming weeks), along with the new ‘My Tools’ feature, that has been designed to ensure that your fishing experiences are the best they can be, all while keeping it free to download. The new ‘My Tools’ feature is the ultimate ‘Fishing Wallet’ allowing you to store all of your licences and safety gear in one convenient location. The reminder notifications of expiry and service dates are the ideal way to keep you on the water with valid licences and safety equipment.

Within the new ‘My Tools’ feature you’ll find My Licences and My Safety Gear. ‘My Licences’ allows you take a photo of your licences and set reminder notifications for when they’re about to expire. It’s not just for your fishing licences either, you can customize your licence list and add your Skippers Ticket, Drivers Licence and Scuba Diving Ticket, for example.

We want peoples fishing experiences to be as stress free as possible and now with this new feature, there’s no need to stress about whether you have a licence or if it’s expired or where it is, simply log it in the App and go fishing!  ‘My Safety Gear’ is another important and helpful feature. Similarly to the licence feature, it allows you to log your safety equipment and set reminder notifications for when your safety gear is about to expire.  This feature is the ultimate safety tool, giving you the confidence that all your safety gear is up to date and in a condition that’s ready to use in case of an emergency! You can log your flares, EPIRB, life jackets, boat service, scuba diving equipment or even your car or trailer service. We want all fishers to return home safe and if this simple tool can help do that, we believe it’s a benefit to the community.

We’ve fixed some fish identification issues people were having, mainly regarding accessing all of the tail shapes. We’ve also tried to clean up some of the colours in the fish ID phase, noting most fish can be multiple colours in its lifecycle and may vary across regions.  We’ve added more information for some fish species e.g. features, habitat, how to catch and over the coming months, we endeavour to have these completed for all the species in the App.

App users will also see banner ads in version 2 of the App. Sponsored ads will not be flashing or flicking or promote products that don’t fit within our sponsorship guidelines. We are always on look out to partner with like-minded organisations to help us make fishing better in WA. If community partners would like to get on board and help make a difference and help put more fish back in the water, sponsor fish habitat projects or educate the next generation of fishers, please contact recfish@recfishwest.org.au

Recfishwest strives for great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever, which is why we have added new features for your convenience. Take the stress out of your fishing and download the app today!

Frequently Asked Questions

My App won’t show pictures? This is a simple fix – the App requires good Wi-Fi connection to download the images to your phone. Simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone.

My App is showing the wrong images and fish names? Just like the above answer – the App requires good Wi-Fi connection to download the images to your phone. Simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone.

I have an Android Phone and most of the App images won’t download? – Android now have put download limits on initial App downloads. So when you download the App not all the images will appear as we had to cut some so you could download the App – but simply leave it in Wi-Fi connection and all images and data will download to your phone and then you will have all the images.

I still can’t see notifications? – Simple, just update to the new version in the App store or Google Play store. If you are still having an issue delete the App and download the new version.

I can’t find my fish? – First check you’re in the correct bioregion. Then go through the improved Fish ID tool. If you still can’t find a fish, take a photo of it, release it and send the photo and some catch details to the Recfishwest Facebook Page and one of our Research team will get back to you with a fish ID.

 

Dhufish Boat Limit to Remain at Two

The iconic Dhufish remains a favourite species for West Aussie fishers, as tens of thousands of us hit the water each summer in an attempt to snare one of these magnificent fish. Despite their popularity, concerns have been raised for the sustainability of Dhufish stocks and strict regulations on bag and boat limits have been in place alongside the annual demersal closure to protect recovering stocks.

In the September issue Recfishwest’s Broad Cast, we brought you an update on Recfishwest’s request, on the back of multiple requests from the community, for a review of the boat limit on Dhufish which currently sits at two.

Given the slow growth of this iconic fish, this is not a decision we took lightly, but was prompted after recent anecdotal reports from fishers indicating that the resource was recovering well, including a high abundance of juvenile fish not seen for many years. Current recreational catches are well below the sustainability target level set for an adequate recovery, in fact recreational take had reduced by 62% since 2009 when management was introduced to reduce the catch by half.

We were pleased to report in September that the Department of Fisheries had agreed to review our request once the most recent stock assessment information was available. Unfortunately the full stock assessment for Dhufish has been delayed, and is now expected to be available in mid-2017, however a preliminary assessment of WA Dhufish was undertaken to assist in evaluating potential changes to the boat limit.

In late November, preliminary information from the stock assessment was available and although Recfishwest’s calculations indicated the recreational take will remain below the sustainability target with an increased boat limit to three Dhufish, the assessment indicated that the stock may be recovering more slowly than expected in the northern and metropolitan areas of the West Coast Bioregion.

The Department of Fisheries made the decision that the rate of recovery was not sufficient enough to allow an increase in the boat limit at this time.  This news will be disappointing to some fishers, however, in the face of current uncertainties, Recfishwest does not support a change to rules that may put the recovery of this iconic species at risk. It is important to understand that Recfishwest will only support management changes when there is clear evidence of sufficient Dhufish stock recovery, and with confidence that any changes will not compromise future sustainability.

Additional analysis of the status of WA Dhufish will be completed as part of the full assessment of West Coast demersal scalefish due to be delivered in mid- 2017. This full assessment will include more complex stock assessment analysis than what was possible at the time of the preliminary assessment and will further inform any potential management changes.

The full assessment will also include the results of the third iSurvey due for release later this year and a more detailed examination of the potential impacts of any management changes. Recfishwest’s request will be revisited when the full assessment is available.

The iconic Dhufish story has many twists and turns, particularly in the last decade, but we have come too far to increase the risk to these fish in any way. The stock assessment indicates that current fishing levels are allowing the stock to recover.Ongoing anecdotal reports of high abundances of juvenile fish, particularly in the metro area, are encouraging. The long term forecast indicates sunny skies for Dhuies.

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!

Fishing Rules Now Only 1 Touch Away

Ever caught a fish and either:
a) Wanted to know what it was?
b) Wanted to know if you could eat it?
c) Wanted to know the size and bag limit?
d) Didn’t have mobile phone or internet range so you couldn’t look the rules up?

Recfishwest is in the final stages of testing and is aiming to release the final application in the coming weeks. This App for both Iphone and Android that answer all the questions above!

We’ve been working hard to deliver you the best, most up to date and easy to understand fishing rules and information to make your fishing experiences as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

Your App will work when you’re out of internet and mobile range. It will contain all of the current information contained within the Recreational Fishing Guide with so much more. Your App will also contain a Fish ID tool, helping you ID your catch in just 4 simple steps.

We’ll keep you updated on this latest development.

Future Proofing WA’s Iconic Marron

A project which will help shape future management of the Marron fishery has revealed some fascinating insights into the drivers and aspirations of participants in this fishery.  The project entitled ‘Future Proofing WA’s Iconic Marron Fishery’ was funded by the Federal Government through the FRDC and is a partnership between Ecotone Consulting, Department of Fisheries, Murdoch University and Recfishwest.

This project has just completed community surveys aimed at gaining a better understanding of what motivates people to go Marron fishing, the social value of the pastime, and what people want from this fishery.  The surveys revealed that many people view marroning as a great family activity and environmentally rich experience that they are prepared to travel a long way to undertake. For many Marron fishers the opportunity to socialise with family and friends is more important than actually catching Marron.

Some of the concerns raised about the fishery included the state of the environment, the length of the season, the level of compliance and lack of facilities (toilets, rubbish disposal) at popular locations.  The second part of the project will look at how fishing amenity can be improved through stocking and habitat enhancement of Marron.

The third part of this project will focus on developing a blueprint for the future management of Marron and will depend on the outcome of the first two parts of the project.

After the success of the recent Pink Snapper restocking in metro waters, along with the stocking activities of Mulloway, Prawns, Black Bream, Brown and Rainbow Trout and Barramundi, Marron just might be the next species we see stocked to boost the enjoyment of all marron fishers.

Lobster Etiquette a Must

The annual recreational lobster season has started in fine style and Recfishwest wants to remind all recreational fishers to act responsibly when targeting these valuable crustaceans.
Last year, there were many reports of pots belonging to recreational fishers being illegally interfered with. These included witnesses seeing their pots pulled by other people, and of pots also being removed.

Some pot thieves are suspected of cutting off floats and replacing them with their own, while there were also suspicions of divers removing lobster from pots. There are significant fines for tampering with other people’s pots and recreational fishers are also reminded pots cannot be pulled before 4.30am.  Anyone diving for crays is also reminded to make sure they use a dive flag, to alert other marine users to their presence.

As with any type of fishing, safety is paramount for all involved.  Fishing rigs that become entangled with lobster pots have the potential to cause severe injury to anyone who subsequently pulls the pot.  If you lose a rig to a lobster pot rope, take steps to mark the rope to alert the owner of the pot to the danger. The best idea is to tie a tag of some kind to the rope or tie the floats together if the pot has more than one float.

Boating safety is also paramount when lobster fishing and in addition to having all the required safety equipment there are some simple steps to reduce the risk of rope entanglement. These steps include using non-buoyant upper line , coiling surplus line, using a highly visible float and not setting pots on the leads to anchorages. Boaties can also reduce the risk of becoming entangled by keeping a good look out, not traveling at night and passing on the leeward side of a float.

Check the weather conditions before launching and leave the pots for another day if the ocean is likely to be too rough to ensure safety.
Observing boat ramp etiquette is also important for lobster fishers – be mindful of your place in the queue when both launching and retrieving and always have your boat ready for launch before you back down the ramp.

Make sure you have a rope on the boat to tie it off to the jetty and try the motor before you put the boat in the water.  Once you start pulling the pots, remember to always clip the tails of any lobster you intend to keep within five minutes of catching them.  Always measure your lobsters before keeping them, with a legal minimum carapace length of 76mm for Western Rock Lobster.

Southern Rock Lobster – Legal Carapace size of 98.5mm. Western Rock Lobster’s are legal at 76mm
Undersized lobster, and lobsters in reproductive condition (berried, seatosed and tar spot), must be returned to the water . You need a current licence from Fisheries to fish for lobster and the daily bag limit is eight per licence holder for Western and Southern Rock Lobsters and 4 per day for Tropical and Ornate Lobsters.

As you would have heard, new lobster rules to benefit lobster fishers are now available on the Dept of Fisheries website.

New Rules Unlock Pink Snapper in Shark Bay

December 2015

Recfishwest welcomes the Minister for Fisheries Ken Baston’s decision to abolish the lottery based tag system for catching Pink Snapper in Shark Bay’s Freycinet Estuary.
The tag system was a restrictive management measure introduced in 2003 to the southern portion of Shark Bay’s western gulf (Freycinet Estuary) following an ongoing decline in Pink Snapper stocks.

New rules to allow improved access to Freycinet have been triggered after the latest fisheries assessment revealed a significant recovery of Pink Snapper stocks in the area.
Recfishwest’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said that Western Australia’s recreational fishers should be commended for their stewardship of the Pink Snapper resource following a decline of these iconic fish in the late nineties.

“The recreational fishing community is delighted to see the stocks return to such a healthy state,” Dr Rowland said.

“The Department of Fisheries has recognised the importance of Pink Snapper in Shark Bay, spoken with the local community and changed the rules to make fishing better.”

The tag system will be replaced with a special possession limit of five kilos of fillets or one day’s bag limit of whole fish per person for those visiting the Freycinet coast.

“The community care deeply about Pink Snapper and were keen to see the new rules align with the World Heritage values for which Shark Bay is recognised.”

“These new rules will allow more fishers to enjoy the fantastic fishing opportunities that Shark Bay has to offer while ensuring the health of the fishery for many years to come.” Dr Rowland said.

The new rules will come into effect on January 1, 2016.
Fact File (Map attached):
– Lottery tag based system for Pink Snapper in Freycinet Estuary abolished after 12 years of enforcement
– Daily Bag Limit for Freycinet is 2 per person per day (and all of Shark Bay)
– New possession limit of 5kg of fillets or 1 days bag limit of whole fish applies to the Freycinet coast
– Maximum size limit for Pink Snapper removed throughout Shark Bay

New Lobster Rule Changes

With new changes coming into effect when the season opens on October 15, two people can now share a lobster pot.  This will mean fishers can share the costs of lobster gear and that pots can be pulled by either licensed fisher on any given day. In turn, this will lead to a reduction of pots in the water, which will lower the risk of whale and boat entanglements.  Previously, if the one licence holder couldn’t fish on a particular day the pot would remain unattended, under the new rules, the pot can still be tended to by the other licence holder. This should reduce the rate of pot theft and interference, given that pots can be pulled by either licenced fisher.
In more good news, lobster fishers now have the option of removing lobster tails after they get their catch home. Previously, the law required lobsters to be kept and stored whole (with head and tail) unless they were being prepared for immediate consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Does this affect the amount of pots I can use?
A: No, each fisher can still only fish a maximum of two pots.

Does this affect how many crays I can take?
A: No, the same bag, boat and minimum size limit applies.

Do I now have to have two floats on my pot?
A: No, you can continue to fish with a single float if you wish.

If I share a pot with a friend and he is not on the boat, can I still pull the pot?
A: Yes, the pot can be pulled as long as one of the licence holders is on board whose gear ID is attached to that pot.

Does the person
sharing my pot need to hold a rock lobster licence?
A: Yes, anyone actively fishing for rock lobster must hold a valid licence.
This rule will benefit fishers who cannot make it out to pull their pots all the time as well as those fishers who want to share costs with another fisher.

Here are some scenarios where fishers may benefit:
“Neither my mate nor I can go out each day, so being able to share a couple of pots means that even if one of us isn’t available, the other can still go and pull our pots that day.”

“My mate works FIFO, so he will pull our pots when he’s home, and I’ll pull them when he’s away. We can go halves in the gear, and hopefully still have plenty of crays for Christmas!”
“I can really only get out to pull cray pots on weekends, so I’ve never really bothered, but this new rule will mean I can share my friends pots. He will tend to them during the week and I’ll tend to them on the weekends. This will give me an opportunity to give it a go without having to fork out lots on money on my own gear.”

“My mate and I have never fished for crays before, but now that we can share gear, we’re going to give it a go. If I can’t get out to the pots every day, it won’t matter, because my mate likely will. Ive heard reports of people having gear stolen, so I feel better about our gear being attended to every day.”

“I’m the only one of my friends with a boat, and every season I’ve had to make sure that the licence holders who’s ID was on the pots came out every time. If they weren’t available, then we didn’t pull their pots. With this new pot sharing rule, it effectively doubles the chances that one of the licence holders will be available to come out.”

“My kids love coming out on the boat and pulling our craypots, however due to school commitments during the week it is unfeasible for them to come out on weekdays, being able to share the pots with other family and friends during the week the kids can come out on the weekend help to pull the pots before we head off for our family fishing day.”

“My fishing partner works FIFO and another mate works the opposite swing, now with pot sharing we do not have to be on the boat at the same time to do float / rego swaps before one or the other flies out, if there is bad weather on the day of float swap over we could not pull the pots for the time he was at work.”
“I do not have a lot of money but get the opportunity when the budget allows to go out fishing with a mate on a semi-regular basis, being able to go part share on a craypot with another one of his mates means I will be able to do some crayfishing next year.”

Other Rules:

– The maximum size limit on female rock lobster has been removed, provided they are not in spawning condition
– Tropical Rock Lobster bag limits have halved to 4 per person per day