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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 7 June 2023

Fishing fans head to northern WA as the cold weather arrives down south

People living in Western Australia's regions have some of the highest participation rates of recreational fishing and, while the weather is cooling down south, local fishing fans and visitors up north are getting their dose of fish and sunshine.

WA's Statewide Survey of Recreational Fishing has generated some interesting data of the popular catches in the North Coast Bioregion from the Ashburton River (south of Onslow) to the WA/Northern Territory border.

The bioregion features a range of different aquatic environments from freshwater rivers and tidal gulfs in the Kimberley, which are home to species like barramundi and mud crabs, to offshore islands groups in the Pilbara providing fishing experiences for fast moving pelagic species and a range of demersal reef fish.

Following the wet season and the commencement of the dry, both locals and tourists alike look forward to the opportunity to tangle with a barra or jack, while in the Pilbara escaping to the offshore islands is a highly valued activity and part of the lifestyle of living in coastal communities. 

Not surprisingly grass emperor, found in both nearshore and offshore habitats, accounts for 12 per cent of the recreational catch. Other species, such as Stripey Snapper recorded eight per cent of the catch, as well as barramundi, golden snapper, red emperor, spangled emperor, Spanish mackerel, and coral trout each account for three per cent of the species caught. 

Recfisher Andy enjoyed catching this gold spot trevally at the Mackerel Islands last week

DPIRD’s Director Aquatic Resource Management Nathan Harrison said the enormous variety of coastal environments in the north delivered plenty of fishing opportunities for people in small boats as well as those on larger vessels that often range far and wide.

“In our North Coast Bioregion, the vast distances between regional centres and the diversity and remoteness of these fishing locations attract people from around Australia and internationally to enjoy the fishing experiences on offer,” Mr Harrison said. 

“The most ideal weather conditions occur during the mid-year winter months making it very attractive for visitors living in the south to escape and enjoy a warm and sunny getaway.

“The sheer range of species caught in the region is a testament to the variety of fishing options it offers and the information we’ve gathered in Statewide Recreational Fishing Surveys has helped us build useful fishing profiles from each of WA’s bioregions.”

Catch the key facts on recreational boat fishing in the North Coast Bioregion at: north_coast_bioregion_recreational_fishing_profile.pdf

The next Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey begins today and Edith Cowan University’s Survey Research Centre will be contacting fishers on behalf of DPIRD to help us understand more about WA’s fishing activity. 

Last modified: 7/06/2023 12:19 PM

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