'Fishability' Summer Newsletter 2015 Edition 2

Our New Look

Since our beginnings in 2003, a lot has changed within our community.   Over the years our organisation has broadened our activities to support anybody that needs assistance to go fishing.  The focus has been on the ability and not the disability of individuals.  For that reason, commencing in October, 2015, the organisation was rebranded and will be known as ‘Fishability’.  Our incorporated and registered name remains as ‘Fishers with Disabilities Assoc. Inc’.   

The change will embrace the ability for all to go fishing, regardless of ability, skill, race, religion, age, social status or geographical location.   We remain committed to the foresight and passion of our founder Nev Thomas and his team of volunteers, whilst adapting to changes in how the community supports people with additional needs.  Our focus in the future will be on the word ‘Fishability’ which aligns with the Association's mission:  To enhance the quality of life and self esteem of Western Australians with disabilities by providing recreational fishing activities and advocating inclusion in to mainstream fishing opportunities.

'Fishability Day' 

March 13, 2016 will mark the first annual 'Fishability Day'. We are launching 'Fishability Day' with a Sun Smart statewide inclusive Community event which promotes the ability of all people to access and enjoy recreational fishing. The 'Fishability Day' event will involve the participation of teams families and individuals in a fully supported fishing activity at 10 locations throughout WA and is at NO COST to those participating.  All fishing gear is provided so there is no need to bring a thing.

 Albany  /  Bunbury  /  Pt Walter, Bicton  /  Busselton  /  Carnarvon  /  Esperance  / Fremantle  /  Geraldton  /   Hillarys  /  Mandurah

'Fishability Day' will be a 'catch, click and release' concept and participants who register will receive a gift bag on arrival.  The day will showcase the 'Fishability Map', our interactive mapping portal which has highlighted 143 locations throughout WA which are deemed safe and accessible to experience fishing from.  So grab a friend; take your family or organise a team.  Come down and throw the line in, meet the Ambassadors and have a photo in the Sun Smart Fishability Frame.  No need to bring a thing!!  To find out where you can attend the 'Fishability Day', and for more details, go to fishability.org.au

Registrations are now open, so get in quick so you don't miss out!!  fishability.org.au


'Fishability' Albany Launch

The new name and look of Fishability was officially launched in Albany with Program Coordinator Susanne Dennings and her team of volunteers celebrating the occasion.  The event was also an opportunity to launch the new trailer donated by the Brand Family Foundation and equipped by the City of Albany.  The day was attended by a lot of community members enjoying the opportunity to fish at Emu Point and to join in on a sausage sizzle.  Thanks to all of our supporters for making the Albany program the success that it is.  2016 will see even more activities being delivered in the region for children and adults requiring support to experience recreational fishing. 

2015 Volunteer of the Year, Ray Benetti celebrating his award with Ms Heather Brayford, Director General, Department of Fisheries

Fishability Albany Coordinator, Susanne Dennings at the Fishability Launch radio interview on Community FM 

Above:  Students and Mr. Ben Reimer from Spencer Park Education Support Centre enjoying the festivities at the Fishability Launch in Albany.  



Left:  Simone Brand and Peter Brown from the Brand Family Foundation celebrate the donated trailer with Susanne Dennings and John Strahan from Fishability Albany. 



'Fishability' Mandurah Launch

The Mandurah team of volunteers led by Program Coordinator, Dee Castillo launched Fishability and their brand new trailer on the shores of the Mandurah estuary in November.  The purposely built trailer was supported by PEACH (Personnel Employed at Alcoa Charity Help); Margaret Down Foundation and the City of Mandurah. The program continues to grow from strength to strength with the support from the dedicated team of volunteers, delivering recreational fishing activities to children and adults living in the Peel region. The 2016 calendar will see new locations and the continued boat 'Mistral' activities supported by Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club.


Above:  Jim Booker  (MOFSC), Dee Castillo (Fishability), Mayor Marina Vergone (City of Mandurah) and Viv Edwards (Margaret Down Foundation) celebrate the launch of the new trailer.

Below:  Dee and her team of volunteers celebrating the new trailer launched in Mandurah

Fishability Mandurah Team of Vollies

'Fishability' Busselton 

Fishability commenced a new program in Busselton catering to less abled children and adults requiring support to go fishing.  Under the watchful eye of Program Coordinator, Michelle Lee (Fishgirl), the team of volunteers started the season with fishing lessons at Barnard Park, Busselton for home schooled children.  Thanks to Port Geographe Marina, Michelle and her volunteers will be running weekly fishing activities for all ages commencing January in 2016.  To enquire about the program, email Michelle at; info.busselton@fishability.org.au or to view the calendar of activities, follow the link; fishability.org.au 


National Disability Awards

In 2014, with the support from the Department of Fisheries and peak body for recreational fishing, Recfishwest, the Association commenced a project to develop a 'Fishability Map', an interactive portal for the wider public to access information about suitable locations throughout Western Australia which are safe and accessible for all to enjoy the experience of recreational fishing.  The 'Fishability Map' was recognised last week at Parliament House, Canberra at the National Disability Awards 2015 as a Finalist in the category of Excellence in Accessibility - Technology.   You will find the 'Fishability Map' at our website at; fishability.org.au


WA Spatial Excellence Awards 

Similarly, the 'Fishability Map' was recently acknowledged at the Western Australian Spatial Excellence Awards for 2015.  Fishability, in partnership with Department of Fisheries, Recfishwest and ESRI developed the map to showcase the Western Australian coastline, river and estuary locations which are suitable for people to safely and confidently participate in recreational fishing.  The mapping portal links to images of the 143 locations, highlighting the parking, access, facilities, disabled toilets, fish to be caught and local bait and tackle shops in the area.  


Jayne Parsons- Ambassador

2015 was action packed for Fishability Ambassador, Jayne Parsons.  Jayne competed at the Australian Blind Bowls Champs in April.  Jayne came away with two golds and a silver medal, and became Australian National Champion winning a gold in the Ladies Singles and Mixed Pairs.  Jayne's family expanded when she adopted her Guide Dog Cali, a beautiful black labrador.  Jayne's year finished on a high as a finalist in the Inaugural City of Mandurah Sports Awards 2015 and was showcased by Disability Services Commission during Disability Awareness Week. www.disability.wa.gov.au             Jayne has represented Fishability in her Amassadorial role with vibrancy, professionalism and passion.  Thanks to Jayne, Brent and of course, Cali!


Albany Show

The Fishability Albany team of volunteers were proudly represented at the recent Albany Agricultural Show.  With a strong presence, the word about Fishability was spread throughout the community.  The day highlight was a guest appearance from His Royal Highness Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.



Pinjarra Seniors Expo

The Fishability Mandurah team were recently represented at the Pinjarra Seniors Expo.  The expo was an opportunity to introduce Fishability to a new community in the Shire of Murray and to encourage new participants and volunteers to get involved. Fishability Mandurah are hopeful for an ongoing program in Pinjarra in 2016.

Dee, Judy and Colin gave away free rain ponchos kindly donated by Masters in Mandurah to all participants of the expo.


Man Overboard Training

Fishability volunteers teamed with Sailability volunteers at the recent Man Overboard Training held at Royal Perth Yacht Club.  The morning was hosted by Sailability prior to the opening of the season.  The volunteers were trained on how to identify potential risk and how to handle situations in the event of a participant overboard.   Thanks to Sailability and Royal Perth Yacht Club for the opportunity. 


Training Workshop

Fishability Volunteers and Board from Perth, Albany, Busselton and Mandurah converged on the waterfront at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club to attend a two day conference.  The workshop was an opportunity to reestablish the Assocation's Strategic Plan; to network between programs; plan for 2016 and to listen to the wise words on Disability Awareness  from guest speakers, Bec and Jethro from National Disability Services and Ross Davidson from MOFSC.  Thanks to MOFSC and Catch 22 Restaurant for hosting us.


Graham Edwards AM National Finalist Senior Australian of the Year 2016  - Fishability Patron 


Fishability Patron, the Honourable Graham Edwards was recently announced as Western Australia's 2016 Senior Australian of the Year. Fishability wish to congratulate Graham and wish him luck in Canberra in January.




Thanks to Justin Russell from Rocksteady Rod Holders for the recent donation of his inflatable fishing rod holder for rock fishing.  The very generous donation of items will be used as prizes in the upcoming Fishability Day.  Thanks Justin. 


Faces of Fishability


 Supporters and Sponsors

The Board and Staff of Fishability would like to acknowledge the Association's sponsors and supporters and thank them for their enormous contribution to the Organisation 


Apex Club of Perth

Wearne Charitable Trust

Early Bird Bait Supply

Albany Seafoods

WA Bait Supply



Brand Family Foundation

Port Geographe Marina

Margaret Down Foundation 

PEACH (Alcoa)


Getaway Outdoors Mandurah

Blue Water Tackle

Compleat Angling & Camping World Nedlands


Seasons Greetings

The Board and Staff of Fishability would like to wish all of our participants; volunteers; support workers; care organisations; sponsors and supporters a very Merry Christmas and healthy and happy 2016.  Be safe on the roads, embrace your family friends and enjoy the great outdoors of Western Australia.