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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Female fisher fishing from a boat

The revenue from recreational fishing licences is spent on a range of fishing projects that benefit recreational fishers, with 25 per cent set aside for new initiatives.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Boat licence a ticket to bigger fishing world

​A Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL) opens up a wide range of fishing opportunities.

With sought-after species such as dhufish, Spanish mackerel and red emperor accessible just a short distance from the shore, many regard WA as a boat fisher’s paradise. To take advantage of this, you need a RFBL, which is required for any fishing activity carried out from a powered boat.

Nearly 140,000 WA fishers carry a RFBL and regularly target hard-fighting, quality table fish rarely caught from the shore.

But a RFBL also covers you for a number of fishing activities other than just rod and line fishing. If you use a powered boat to fish by diving or snorkelling, dip net for prawns, catch crabs or octopus, jig for squid or spear fish, you will need a RFBL, even if you are returning your catch to the water.

There are also many boaties in WA who take advantage of the good fishing opportunities available on islands or sandbars – you can use a powered boat to transport your catch or fishing gear to or from these or any other land-based fishing locations as long as you have a RFBL.

On the other hand, there are some boat-based fishing activities for which you don’t need a RFBL, including fishing from a boat without a motor, such as a row boat.

Also, if you are already licenced for a fishing activity, such as rock lobster or abalone fishing, you don’t require a RFBL if that is the only fishing activity taking place on the boat.

And you can fish without a licence if you are fishing with one or more people who hold a RFBL, provided the total catch of everyone on board stays within the bag limit of the licensed fishers. And to legally take a boat limit, for dhufish for example, there must be two or more RFBL holders on board.

So while the RFBL opens up a wide range of fishing opportunities, the database of boat fishers helps us determine who is fishing, where and what they are catching – assisting us in managing our fisheries so there are fish for the future.

Last modified: 12/10/2017 2:02 PM

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