skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Supporting recreational fishing

​Each year about $20 million is spent on the management and improvement of our recreational fisheries.

Recreational fishers contribute about $8.5m to this cost through licence fees, every cent of which is spent, by law, on recreational fishing. 

The State Government contributes the remaining $11.5 million to ensure the continuation of sustainable management of recreational fishing in Western Australia.

Our approach to maintaining sustainable fisheries is underpinned by: 

  • Science and assessment – including making assessments of fish stocks, researching key recreational fishing species and undertaking surveys of recreational fishing activity.
  • Management – including  simplifying rules, making changes to address risks to fish stocks, licensing, consultation with the recreational fishing community, developing new fishing laws and managing recreational fishing projects.
  • Compliance – educating recreational fishers and the community about sustainable fishing, enforcing recreational fishing rules and protecting fish stocks and fish habitats.
  • Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund – used by the Minister for Fisheries to allow the community to apply for grants for projects to improve recreational fishing in Western Australia. Further information about the initiatives fund, including how to apply for small grants and large grants is available from Recfishwest.

The peak body representing recreational fishing interests in Western Australia, Recfishwest, advises and represents the interests of recreational fishers and provides advice to the Government. 

Our patrol vehicles are used in our compliance program to help
ensure fishers are sticking to the fishing rules across the State

Your licence fees at work

Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund

The Minister for Fisheries reinvests the equivalent of 25 per cent of recreational fishing licence fees (over $2 million each year) from the Recreational Fishing Account to the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF). The RFIF was established by the State Government to provide opportunities for individuals, research institutions, clubs, organisations or community groups for projects and research that directly benefit recreational fishing.

Since 2010, more than 120 projects worth over $11 million have been committed from the RFIF.  Projects have included restocking, artificial reefs, research programs, training and small community based recreational fishing projects.


Compliance plays an important educational and enforcement role in the long-term promotion of sustainable fishing practices and compliance with the rules.

A mix of highly-visible patrols and education programs with covert surveillance techniques are used to maximise compliance effectiveness.

Recreational fishers and the wider community play a key role in reporting any suspicious fishing activity through FishWatch.


There have been a number of management changes to improve recreational fishing opportunities, including streamlining rules and reducing red tape. Some examples include:

Science and assessment 

In addition to the long-term monitoring and assessment of key recreational fish species, recreational fishing surveys – including boat ramp surveys and log book surveys – are undertaken to provide important data about who is fishing where and what they are catching.   

Thousands of recreational fishers have been involved in the surveys, with many providing important log book data. This ongoing support and involvement of recreational fishers in our fisheries science and assessment program is crucial.

Another key research program that involves recreational fishers is the Send us your skeletons program.  This program involves recreational fishers sending in fish frames for key species which are used to assist in assessing the status of our fish resources. 

A Fisheries research scientists collects data from one of our artificial reef
structures using a stereo camera.

Representing the interests of fishers

Recfishwest is funded from recreational fishing licence fees and receives about $1.3 million each year to represent the interests of recreational fishers and provide professional and coordinated advice about recreational fishing to the Government. 

Recfishwest's role also includes:

  • coordination of recreational fishing stakeholder views on management proposals;
  • advice on use of the Recreational Fishing Account and Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund; and
  • assistance with education of fishers and promotion of responsible fishing.

Recfishwest represents the interests of the State's recreational
fishing community.

Recreational fishing projects

A range of other projects have been funded from the Recreational Fishing Account, including:

  • Snapper Guardians – the Government provided $300,000 to continue a re-stocking project by Recfishwest and the Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research.
  • Rock fishing safety – the Government has funded this initiative and partnered with Recfishwest to work with key community groups, land owners and managers to provide enhanced safety measures for rock fishers at popular locations along the WA coast.
  • Artificial reef trial – Fisheries has worked with Recfishwest and Murdoch University to successfully trial the first dedicated artificial reefs program in WA.    
  • Restocking – a range of restocking projects have been undertaken through partnerships and funded by the RFIF or Government. This has included $700,000 over four years to restock Lake Kununurra with barramundi for the enhancement of recreational fishing and tourism in the Kimberley.
  • Fishability – a volunteer group which provides vessel and jetty-based fishing activities for children and adults living with disability.
Recfishwest and Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund logos 

Last modified: 11/07/2017 12:20 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at