Recreational fishing hooks new benefits from WA COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Sunday, 9 August 2020
  • $6 million to build new artificial reefs, boost fish stocking and support regional fishing tourism
  • Initiatives will deliver around 40 new jobs and help support 1,320 existing jobs
  • Recreational fishing will boost WA’s COVID-19 recovery

The McGowan Government has unveiled a $6 million package to support Western Australia’s booming recreational fishing industry as part of the WA Recovery Plan.

The package, developed with Recfishwest, includes new artificial reefs, a boost to finfish stocks to increase fishing opportunities in the metropolitan area, and a new State-wide marketing campaign to drive more locals and tourists to WA’s iconic fishing locations.

As part of the package, a special shallow water reef will be installed off Albany and additional state-of-the-art structures will be deployed to create safe fishing meccas off two other regional towns.

The plan will deliver a significant boost to fish stocks in Perth metropolitan waters.

The stocking of finfish species, such as yellowtail kingfish, will support new fishing opportunities on new North Metro Reef to create a drawcard for tourism and support the 50 fishing tour vessels operating off the Perth coast.

The Cockburn Sound ‘Snapper Guardians’ program will also be extended, and an additional one million barramundi will be released annually into Lake Kununurra.

In continuing to support and enhance the still water barramundi fishery in the East Kimberley, there is an opportunity for indigenous economic development through direct employment in fishing tours.

The McGowan Government is also working with Recfishwest, WA’s peak recreational fishing body, to develop a State-wide marketing campaign for iconic WA fishing experiences, destinations and businesses to help create new jobs and strengthen the recovery.

New promotions to feature in the marketing campaign will include the development of a WA Fishing Trails and Calendar to not only promote salmon in the south but also showcase barramundi in the north.

WA has led the nation in easing restrictions, opening up local economies faster and getting Western Australians back to work and out to enjoy themselves in a COVID-safe way.

Recreational fishing – which contributes an estimated $2.4 billion to the State’s economy each year – complements regional tourism in WA.

The annual salmon run alone is worth more than $331 million to regional areas, particularly in the South-West and Great Southern.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“Recreational fishing is worth an estimated $2.4 billion annually to WA and has an impressive history of supporting regional economies through tourism.

“Recreational fishers support communities and towns across WA as they travel to their favourite fishing spots.

“The $6 million package includes funding to install more artificial reefs in regional locations, which will help sustain existing jobs, create new employment opportunities and provide ongoing tourism assets that can be factored into tourism promotions.

“The WA Recovery Plan recognises the importance of both social and economic recovery across WA, and recreational fishing is a strong element in our social fabric.

“By developing these new fishing opportunities we aim to encourage Western Australians to holiday within the State and produce wider community benefits under WA’s Recovery Plan.”

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:

“This package will support the local fishing community and help draw tourists to our iconic fishing locations.

“Western Australians love their fishing and we are lucky through our management of COVID-19 that our fishers are getting out and about again.

“These initiatives will further enhance recreational fishing experiences to support the recreational fishers, which generates jobs and recovery for Western Australia.

“The McGowan Government is also supporting recreational fishing with new stock enhancement plans and fishing opportunities.

“In dropping a line, setting a pot, collecting an abalone or scooping a crab, it’s the enjoyment of the catch that inspires recfishers and gets them out and about around the State.”