New WA licensing system now in effect

WA’s recreational fishos now require a new licence if they fish from a powered vessel.

The new Recreational Fishing Boat Licence (RFBL), which had met with widespread public opposition when proposed, costs $30 annually for adults and $15 for pensioners or junior anglers (under 16). According to a press release from the WA’s Department of Fisheries the monies collected from sales of the licence will help ensure future management of the State’s fisheries.

Under the new licensing system rec anglers using a powerboat to fish within WA need the RFBL; operators of human-powered vessels such as kayaks, canoes or the like don’t require the new licence. Anglers without a licence will be entitled to fish from a boat, provided they are in the company of a RBFL holder. They must also adhere to the licence holder’s bag limit.

In addition, under the new licensing system licences are also required to carry out the following forms of fishing: Rock Lobster – $40 (adult) $20 (pensioner/u16); abalone $40/$20; marron $40/$20; South-West Freshwater Angling $40/$20; Net Fishing $40/$20.

According to WA’s Department of Fisheries the new licence scheme will aid the establishment of a database of boat-based recreational fishers, which will be used to more accurately estimate the number of people fishing, where they are fishing and what they are catching.

Department of Fisheries Principal Management Officer Nathan Harrison said the new Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL) would provide a vehicle through which we could estimate recreational catches from Kununurra to Esperance and regions in-between.

“This is the first time information will be available on a State wide scale on an ongoing basis,” Harrison said. “In some areas, fishing is only undertaken on a recreational basis and it’s vital that we have good information on what rec-fishers are catching, to assist in evaluating the success of various management strategies.”

Over 50,000 Western Australians already take out licences for specific activities like recreational rock lobster, marron and abalone fishing as well as net and freshwater fishing.

Harrison said licensing had helped in the effective management of these fisheries and it was now time for the system to cover boat-based fishing.

“By taking out a licence, recreational fishers are making an investment in protecting the future quality of recreational fishing,” he said. “Funds from the new licence fee will be spent solely on initiatives relating to recreational fishing.”

From today licences can be purchased from Australia Post outlets and online from the Department’s website and Department of Fisheries offices. For more information go to

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