Scientists to discuss recreational fishing in WA

Recreational fishing representatives and fisheries scientists meet in Perth ahead of changes to WA fishing licence rules

Recreational fisheries scientists meet in Perth today to discuss how to best use information gathered through Western Australia’s new "Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence" (RFBL) system.

The Government says the licence, which will be introduced on March 2, 2010, is intended to help establish a database of who is fishing and where in the State those fishers live.

The information, said the Government, is expected to allow for more efficient and accurate estimates of catch and effort by the recreational fishing sector. This is said to assist in determining the success of management measures put in place to safeguard "at risk" demersal fish stocks like pink snapper and dhufish.

The meeting brings together members of the Department of Fisheries and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI). It includes fisheries scientists from Australia and New Zealand as well as managers and fishing representatives.

Director of Research, Dr Rick Fletcher, said the Department of Fisheries was hosting the conference and it was being funded by WAMSI.

"Some of the methods that will be discussed include phone-surveys, creel surveys and aerial surveys, as well as a wide range of other innovative fishing data collection options," Fletcher said.

"This important workshop will help map out the most robust recreational catch monitoring programmes, not only for boat-based fishing, but also for all types of recreational fishing," he said.

"The outcomes will, therefore, have a pivotal bearing on the future sustainability of some of our State’s most prized fish stocks."

Fletcher said more information was regularly needed on recreational catch levels, in many fisheries, to ensure they could be managed in a sustainable way.

From March 2, 2010, recreational fishers using a boat for any general fishing activities from a powered vessel, anywhere in the Western Australia, will need a licence.

Fishers without a licence will still be entitled to fish from a boat, providing they are in the company of someone who holds a licence and they only fish within the licence holder’s bag limit. For more information about the new licence, visit

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