Recreational fishers are contributing more than $3 million a year to the South West economy, according to state government research.
The Economic Dimensions of Recreational Fishing in Western Australia report was conducted by Economic Research Associates, and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Recfishwest.
It looked into what recreational fishers spend on trips to their favourite fishing spot, such as bait, food, and travel expenses.
The report revealed one in three Western Australian households contains at least one person who fishes.
Out of those, 45 per cent fish from the shore, 24 per cent fish from a boat, and 31 per cent fish from both.
The aim of the project was to determine simply what WA's population spends each year on their fishing activities.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and the McGowan Government have been investing in local fishing, including the continued stocking of trout – approximately 600,000 Rainbow and Brown Trout in 2018 – in Harvey Dam, Waroona Dam, Logue Brook Dam, Big Brook Dam, Warren River and Donnelly River.
Mr Murray said the trout stocking project helped recreational fishing thrive.
“Supporting small business, such as the local fishing stores and service stations before you go out on your fishing trips, provides a significant boost to the local economy," he said.
The survey findings found that 37.65 per cent stay near where they are fishing. With 25 per cent staying one night, and 10.63 per cent stay staying five nights.
Collie Canvas and Camping World co-owner Kaylene Evans said both tourists and locals come to buy fishing gear.
"We definitely have had increases in the overturn of fishing gear," she said.
"Most of the campers who come into town and get their fishing gear might go buy fuel and go to some of the cafes in town, so it all contributes."
Premier Mark McGowan said the report shows recfishing provides support for many local businesses including retail, hospitality and tourism businesses, which in turn supports local jobs.
“Recreational fishers make a significant contribution to Western Australia’s economy and support economic activity in many regional towns on the coast and near inland fishing spots," he said.
“Recreational fishing is a popular pastime and has great potential to become a tourism drawcard encouraging more people to visit our great state in search of the perfect catch.”
Fisheries minister Dave Kelly said over the past two years the government has improved recfishing experiences in WA by securing funding to Recfishwest and recreational fishing initiatives, committing to more artificial reefs, upgrading boating facilities and promoting safe fishing practices.
“We want WA’s recreational fishing experience to get even better and build on our reputation for having some of the most sustainable fisheries and being one of the best places in the world to fish," he said