Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Government and youth combine to promote 'Fish for the Future'

    11/01/2005 12:00 PM

    Hundreds more Western Australian youngsters will learn how to fish at free clinics, increase their awareness of the fragile marine environment and help protect precious fish stocks under an expanded education program.

    Fisheries Minister Kim Chance today announced the ‘Fish for the Future’ program would be expanded throughout the State in a major attempt to educate young fishers in the importance of sustainable fishing.

    The expansion of the clinics in the metropolitan area and regional centres will be funded by a new allocation of $200,000 by the State Government.

    Recfishwest, the peak recreational fishing organisation in WA, will deliver the program in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries.

    Under the expanded program:
    • Volunteer Fisheries Liaison Officers will conduct more fishing clinics in the metropolitan area and at Rottnest Island;
    • Recfishwest’s regional initiatives will include fishing clinics in the north of the State in Carnarvon, Exmouth, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome and Wyndham, and in the south from Esperance to Bunbury and Busselton;
    • the department’s regional VFLO programs will also conduct clinics in Shark Bay, Exmouth and Coral Bay between May and June; and
    • the Fishers with Disabilities initiative will receive a $20,000 grant for specialised equipment and regional promotions.
    “With more than 600,000 people fishing recreationally each year, it is vital that we spread the conservation message and promote responsible fishing, especially to younger fishers,” Mr Chance said.

    “Many kids leave the clinics with memories of catching their first fish and, very importantly, understanding why undersize fish need to be returned to the water.

    “The VFLOs play a key role assisting fishers about why rules are in place and encouraging them to adopt a strong conservation ethic when they are fishing.”

    Recfishwest executive director Frank Prokop said recreational fishing contributed significantly to the health and well-being of the community through exercise, release of tension, enjoyment of the environment and consumption of fresh fish.

    “We encourage fishing as a family activity because it also holds significant educational values, teaching personal skills such as self-reliance, confidence and analytical skills,” Mr Prokop said.

    “But most importantly it promotes the concept of responsibility to ensure the sustainability of natural resources and conservation of our environment.”

    The clinics will include messages of aquatic conservation and recognition of fish species, catch and release, casting techniques, selection of bait and general rigging and will augment the existing Healthway/Sunsmart clinics.

    Minister's office: 9213 6700