Recreational fishing fund to get part of licence revenues

A group of fishers in the Swan River using prawn drag nets.
A group of fishers in the Swan River using prawn drag nets.

THE State Government has reversed its decision to slash funding to the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, RFIF, license, Recfishwest,

On Wednesday , Fisheries Minister Ken Baston confirmed his support for the RFIF, which will see 25 per cent of recreational fishing licence revenue go to the fund.

This comes despite budget papers showing only 13 percent of revenue would go to the fund; 12 per cent less than what was initially promised.

Mr Baston said every dollar of recreational fishing licence revenue was reinvested into recreational fishing management and enhancement projects.

“The $800,000 saving mentioned in the budget papers will be identified across the department’s budget, excluding the RFIF,” Mr Baston said.

“Each year, Recfishwest submit a range of proposals for the Government to consider to be funded out of the RFIF, and I assess these according to the priorities of the State.”

Recfishwest principal policy advisor Leyland Campbell welcomed the move.

“Recfishwest sees this as a suitable result. We will be monitoring where the cost savings are being applied to make sure that recreational fishing is not impacted in any way,” he said.

The not-for-profit, community-based organisation was concerned that without the funding there would be no more prawns, mulloway or pink snapper stocked in local rivers.

“Since its inception in 2011, the RFIF has invested $6.5 million into community projects supporting fishing safety, artificial reefs, youth development, education, fish aggregation devices, biological research on important recreational species and stocking of iconic fish species,” Mr Campbell said.

“These projects are highly valued by the community.”

A report by Murdoch University has shown the waterway is in the best ecological health for a decade, also noting an increase in species living close to riverbanks.