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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 23 November 2022

Awards recognise the valuable volunteers supporting Fishability

    • Fishability is dedicated to helping people with disability get out and enjoy fishing
    • Ongoing McGowan Government support is helping the charity grow
    • 11 volunteers honoured at Fishability awards 
A group of volunteers from across the State have been honoured at Fishability's annual awards night. 

For 22 years, Fishability has been helping people with disability get hooked on fishing. 

Last night's awards saw John May and Ed Szydlowski receive the Nev Thomas Award, which recognises a long-term contribution to the not-for-profit organisation. John has been a volunteer since 2015, and he and Ed run Fishability's jetty program in Albany. 

Aldo Mendolia and Mark Gwynne were the winners of the Chairman's Award. For the past 12 years, they've organised at least one annual day out on a charter boat for fishers with disability. 

Fishability's Life Membership was fittingly awarded to John Staples who joined 11 years ago and has skippered the vessel named after Nev Thomas. He's also helped establish Fishability in regional centres. 

Seven volunteers were honoured with the Unsung Hero Awards for their dedicated work behind the scenes:
    • Chris Wilson, who was instrumental in setting up the program in Geraldton;
    • Busselton's Tim Jackson, who has attended every local Fishability session since joining in May last year;
    • Steve Grandison from Mandurah, who works tirelessly as the skipper of the MV Fishability;
    • Maureen Hannan from Albany, who is a full time-carer for her husband who participates in Fishability;
    • husband and wife team Paul and Caroline Taylor from Perth - North, who've been enthusiastic volunteers since joining in 2020; and
    • Bob Hancock from Perth - South, who has volunteered for the past five years. 
The McGowan Government provides $100,000 in funding for Fishability each year. A further $50,000 is allocated from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, which puts licence fees to work on projects that enhance recreational fishing in Western Australia.   

More information about the organisation and how it works is available at 

Comments attributed to Fisheries and Disability Services Minister Don Punch: 

"The McGowan Government acknowledges all the work that Fishability does to get people with disabilities outdoors and taking part in one of the most popular recreational activities in WA. 

"Everyone deserves to enjoy the excitement and reward that fishing provides. 

"I congratulate this year's award winners and all Fishability volunteers around WA." 

Minister's office - 6552 6900

Last modified: 23/11/2022 9:39 AM

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