Project number: 2011-502
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $120,000.00
Principal Investigator: Bill Sawynok
Organisation: Recfish Australia
Project start/end date: 28 Jul 2011 - 31 Mar 2013


The last national recreational fishing conference was held in 2008. It is recognised within the fishing industry, and supported by FRDC, that industry sectors need to hold a conference every 2 years to allow the sectors to showcase their achievements and provide a high level forum for issues affecting the industry. By 2012 it will be 4 years since the last recreational fishing conference.
Key industry bodies Recfish Australia and AFTA have recognised the need for another national conference for some time. The Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee, as part of the Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy, has also recognised the need for a national conference.

For the conference to be world-class, there is a need for participation to be broadened to encompass parts of the industry that have not been previously involved (eg boating) and to include agencies whose decisions impact on recreational fishers (eg marine park agencies). The conference will focus on the future of recreational fishing in Australia and addressing issues related to that in a practical and innovative manner. The conference also needs to build on the Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy.

There is also a need to develop the leadership skills of the next generation of recreational fishers by exposing them to issues and areas of concern that they will need to address in the future. The concept of succession planning is of paramount importance to the future management of the industry. The conference will allow current and future leaders to develop key strategies to improve the engagement of recreational fishers in decision making that impacts on recreational fishing.


1. Survey key industry stakeholders and potential attendees to contribute to the input and expectations for a National Recreational Fishing Conference and use the results to assist in the design of the 2012 National Conference.
2. Host a world-class National Recreational Fishing Conference in 2012.
3. Engage with participants at the National Conference to identify at least three key national projects to be developed and implemented following the conference.
4. Presentation of Recreational Fishing Awards.
5. Publication of the proceedings of the conference.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9752219-6-9
Author: Bill Sawynok
Final Report • 2012-12-15 • 1.65 MB


Holding a national conference was identified as a priority project by the Federal Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC) and developed as part of "Recreational fishing in Australia - 2011 and beyond: a national industry development strategy".

The conference was held on 17-19 August 2012 at the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre (GCCEC). The conference was a joint program of Recfish Australia and Australian Fishing Trade Association with the support of Recfishing Research.

The conference commenced with an ABT Pro-Am Fishing Tournament on 17 August and was followed by the AFTA Tackle Trade Show on 20-22 August. The conference was attended by 160 delegates and formal and informal feedback indicated delegates thought that the conference was very successful.

An online survey completed by 350 people in early 2012 was used to assist in determining the location, timing, duration, cost and themes for the conference. The overall theme for the conference was "Casting Towards Tomorrow - Keep Australia Fishing".

There were then 36 presentations that addressed the conference themes. The presentations covered a broad range of issues faced by recreational fishing and included perspectives from government, fisheries agencies, recreational fishers and researchers. There were many good news stories told of recreational fishers doing great things at the coal face, particularly in education, habitat restoration, fishing practices and safety.

Keywords:  National Recreational Fishing Conference, Recfish Australia, Australian Fishing Trade Association, Recfishing Awards, Strategic Actions.

Final Report • 2012-12-15 • 3.58 MB
2011-502 Recfish Conference Handbook.pdf


Conference handbook for the National Recreational Fishing Conference held between 17-19 August 2012 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

The Conference is one of the most significant events on the Australian recreational fishing calendar, and the program provides a forum for discussions that will chart the course for the future of recreational fishing. The Keynote Presenters provide their knowledge on how they see the future from an international perspective, how to bridge the gap between the current and upcoming generation of leaders and a view of fishing from the younger generation. The number of workshop sessions also provide a great overview on where recreational fishing is headed for the future.

The outcome of the Conference is to take on three defined themes that will set the ground work for the ongoing development of the future of recreational fishing and the role that the next generation will play in ensuring a healthy and sustainable industry.

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