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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Supporting recreational fishing

​Each year about $19 million is spent on the management and improvement of our recreational fisheries. 

Recreational fishers contribute about $6m to this cost through licence fees, every cent of which is spent, by law, on recreational fishing. 

The State Government contributes the remaining $13 million to ensure the continuation of sustainable management of recreational fishing in Western Australia.

Our approach to maintaining sustainable fisheries is underpinned by:

  • Research – including making assessments of fish stocks, researching key recreational fishing species and undertaking surveys of recreational fishing activity.
  • Management – including the identification and management of risks to recreational fishing and fish stocks, consultation with the recreational fishing community, developing new fishing laws and managing recreational fishing projects.
  • Compliance – educating recreational fishers and the community about sustainable fishing, enforcing recreational fishing rules and protecting fish stocks and fish habitats.

The peak body representing recreational fishing interests in Western Australia, Recfishwest, advises and represents the interests of recreational fishers and provides advice to the Government. 

Increases in money from recreational fishing licences in recent years and additional government money have funded several new initiatives that have enhanced recreational fishing in Western Australia.

New recreational fishing initiatives

Additional fisheries mobile patrol units

$2 million has been spent on thirteen additional Fisheries and Marine Officers and extra vehicles now operating around the State. The patrol units play an important educational and enforcement role in the long-term promotion of sustainable fishing practices and compliance with the rules.

photo of Fisheries mobile patrol vehicles

Artificial reef pilot study

$520,000 of licence fees have been invested towards a $2.38 million project to trial the State’s first artificial reef.

Lake Kununurra barramundi restocking project

$700,000 is being invested over four years to restock Lake Kununurra with barramundi for the enhancement of recreational fishing.  This project is aiming to establish a world-class trophy barramundi fishery – a major boon to the recreational community and tourism in the Kimberley.

Western Australian Recreational Boat Fishing Survey

The third recreational boat fishing survey began in the autumn of 2015. Information is being collected until August 2016 and this time the survey has been expanded to include shore-based fishing.

In the previous two surveys - carried out over 12 months from March 2011 to February 2012 and May 2013 to April 2014 -  approximately 3,000 fishers kept logbooks in each survey. Almost 7,500 boat fishers were surveyed around WA in the 2013/14 survey.     

The results from this project provide important data about who is fishing where and what they are catching.

This is critical information for the effective management of the State's fisheries and aquatic ecosystem resources, helping to ensure there are fish for the future.

photo of men fishing from boat

Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund

A proportion of Recreational Fishing Licence fees, ranging between $1 and $1.5m, is set aside each year to provide grant funding for initiatives, projects and research that directly benefit recreational fishing.

Any academic institution, community, government, or non-government organisation can apply for these grants.

Examples of some grants that have already been approved include:

  • Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to be deployed off the WA coast between Cervantes and Jurien Bay;
  • Contributions to the artificial reefs program;
  • New fish species identification signs around Esperance;
  • Preliminary work on a Recreational Fishing Catch and Effort Electronic Data Capture System;
  • Funding for about 250 tackle stores and other outlets to provide recreational fishing brochures, stickers and other important information to recreational fishers throughout WA.
  • Educational fishing trips for underprivileged children in the East Kimberley; and
  • Manufacture of ‘brag mats’ in Broome to educate fishers about size limits and improving fish release techniques.

Further information about the initiatives fund, including how to apply for small grants and large grants is available from Recfishwest.

Recfishwest and Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund logos

Last modified: 23/11/2015 11:26 AM

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The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.