Friendly catch

People enjoy a Fishability trip with Aldo Mendolia (right), and Catherine (left) wins a rod for catching the most fish.

A PERTH not-for-profit that gets  disabled people out fishing has been such a success it could expand into Bunbury and Karratha.

Since launching in 2003, dozens of volunteer boats owners and fishermen at Fishability have helped disabled people cast a line into the Swan River and the Indian Ocean.

The extensive program includes shore, jetty and boat fishing trips, wheelchair-accessible vessels, and advice on accessible fishing locations.

“Fishability activities break down isolation, which is often associated with people living with a disability,” Fishability executive officer Mike McMullan says.

“Participants have an opportunity to experience the beautiful natural environment the Perth and our regional locations have to offer, which also helps to improve people’s self-esteem, well-being and quality of life.

“At most of our programs, people have actually experienced the thrill of catching their first fish – and anyone who has caught a fish for the first time knows what a memorable experience this. Most of our fishing is catch and release.” 

Fishability run trips from jetties in several metro locations across Perth and Greater Fremantle, including Point Walter, Mt Henry Bridge, Fremantle Sailing Club and Ammo Jetty. 

They also run programs in Geraldton, Mandurah, Busselton and Albany.

“While we have skippers and crew from all over the metro area, special mention should be made of Fremantle identities Aldo Mendolia and Andreina De Petro who make the fishing charter vessel Top Gun available for Fishability activities on an annual basis and they provide an absolutely fantastic day for participants – even supplying fuel, bait, food and prizes at no cost to fishability participants,” Mr McMullan says

“Many businesses in the Fremantle area donate prizes for the day, showing great generosity and community spirit.  

“We also receive ongoing support from the Fremantle Sailing Club through access for fishing activities.”

Fishability isn’t resting on its laurels and is constantly looking at expanding its volunteer service.

“We are hoping to establish programs in Bunbury and Karratha and we a currently building a boat to augment our Mandurah program.” 

For more info and timetables go to http://www.fishability.org.au

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