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Women Recreational Fishing Network turns one

by Charley May 19 Mar 05:55 UTC
Women in Recreational Fishing celebrates first birthday © Charley May

The Women in Recreational Fishing Network (WIRF) celebrated its first birthday by hosting a special angling event on International Women's Day on 8 March at Karkarook Lake in Melbourne.

Minister for Fishing and Boating, Jaala Pulford, and AFL Women's rising star Chloe Molloy joined dozens of local school kids, angling clubs, angling stakeholders and the media to celebrate WIRF's achievements over the past year.

Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) CEO Travis Dowling said the State Government's Target One Million plan to get more people fishing has helped the WIRF initiative to flourish.

"WIRF was established to increase diversity and grow participation in fishing; and it's working. We are looking forward to seeing more females getting into the great outdoors to enjoy angling with their families and friends," Mr Dowling said.

Attendees at the WIRF event heard about the initiative's successes over the past 12 months including:

  • Creating a dedicated Women in Recreational Fishing Facebook group that is steadily growing and providing a peer support network for women to learn about fishing;
  • Appointing Chloe Molloy, AFL Women's hero and enthusiastic angler, as an ambassador to inspire more women to kick goals in the angling world;
  • Establishing a scholarship program to unearth and develop the skills of female fishing leaders and;
  • Hearing the positive stories and achievements of the 2018 WIRF scholarship participants.

Karen Rees, WIRF Scholarship winner, said the WIRF network has provided her with an amazing year of personal growth and opportunity.

"From media interviews, sponsorship deals, speaking events and being hired to co-manage a new tackle store in Bendigo, being part of WIRF has changed my life in the best way," Ms Rees said.

The event also marked the official launch of the new WIRF strategy.

Chair of the VFA Board Gail Owen said the new WIRF strategy will encourage even more female participation and leadership opportunities in recreational fishing.

"It was wonderful to see so many young women at our International Women's Day celebration and hear how they're making waves in the fishing industry."

"Our new strategy will inspire women of all ages to cast a line and deliver the kind of change that will help us move towards greater gender balance on the water."

For more information visit www.vfa.vic.gov.au/WIRF

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