Rottnest Fishing

Reporter: Graeme Butler

If you ever needed proof of just how much we value our fish you only need to see the massive operation in our northern waters to keep out illegal fishing.. further south it's not so much a war but a campaign... The beautiful waters of Rottnest are hardy a well kept secret - but what goes on under the waves is - how many fish are caught - what types of fish and where they live.

Kane Moyle from recfishwest is involved in a project to find out exactly what the state of play is for fishing at Rottnest. "It's important to see what's happening with these species like dhufish blue grouper what contributions are these sanctuary zones making to their stock status and also what's happening amongst rec fisher community"

There are now five fishing sanctuary zones - including three NEW zones like this one at Armstrong Bay - but some regular fisherman like Craig Bibra say the effect on fish stocks remains to be seen. "Generally most recreational fishers understand that sanctuary zones are a good thing as long as they're justified and there is some scientific basis not just political issues for closing areas up - in this case what's the feeling? in this case I think the jury is out"

To help find out exactly what's going on people who go fishing at rottnest are being asked to fill in a log book with what they catch and where.. Kim Smith from Fisheries, "as a group recreational fishers are out there everyday fishing in all different environments so collectively they're collecting a vast amount of information so much more than a group of scientists like myself could possibly collect on our own"

Now apart from the exaggerated stories about the one that got away, fishermen are usually reluctant to tell you exactly what they caught and more to the point where they caught it - well the good news is that apart from research your secret spots will be safe. Kane says "there is obviously a strict confidentiality in terms of where these people are going fishing no information will be disclosed outside of the department of fisheries and it's purely used for research purposes so all your secret spots will be kept secret"

"It's a great tool for us to get more information about recreational fishing on the island and also to allow us to make more informed decisions about the management of the rottnest island reserve" Emma Jackson is lucky enough to work on Rottnest for the Island Authority.... "we've got a new fishing guide that we've got out and that's available through the visitors centre and other places on the island and that kind of tells people where they can or can't fish"

To be part of the study and do your bit to secure the future of Rottnests fish you can register on line with the department of fisheries - you'll be sent a log book and information and then away you go - for the most part the fishing experience won't change on Rottnest - but even if you only wet a line occasionally - you're information could be vital.

You can register for the Rottnest Fishing study at the fisheries website at:

http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/