Vale Pat Washington

Pat Washington

Recreational fishing in Victoria has lost one of its greatest advocates with the passing of former VRFish Chairman, Pat Washington.

Pat was a very strong Chairman who is remembered as being a true leader of VRFish. He always supported and promoted VRFish policies in a strong and forthright manner.

An avid fly fisher, Pat truly loved trout fishing and was a magnificent fly tier. He was passionate about offshore habitat after working as an oil rig diver. His first-hand knowledge from this experience prompted his idea to keep off-shore discontinued oil rigs as habitat as he knew that marine fish and other life accumulated around these.

The biggest achievement under Pat’s time as Chairman was the introduction of the ‘All Waters Licence’ (Victorian Recreational Fishing Licence) and the subsequent Recreational Fishing Licence Trust Fund. This has enabled recreational fishers in Victoria to re-invest their license fees into projects that improve recreational fishing.

When VRFish was first established, VRFish had no say in the development of the structure or Articles of Association (Constitution) that it inherited. Some of the key changes to the Constitution were made during Pat’s time as VRFish Chairman to make the organisation more representative of the Victorian recreational fishing community. With Pat’s input, VRFish not only survived but prospered.

During Pat’s time as Chairman he achieved many things, including leading the way for a buyout of commercial scallop dredging licences in Port Phillip Bay. He was also involved in closing commercial netting in Mallacoota, Lake Tyers, Shallow Inlet and Anderson’s Inlet to benefit recreational fishing. He was also heavily involved in negotiating the best possible outcome for recreational fishers with regard to the issue of Marine National Parks.

Pat established great working arrangements with politicians on all sides of the political spectrum, which enabled him to achieve optimal outcomes for some of the above mentioned and many other issues. He was renowned for his tenacity to always ensure the best interest of recreational fishers were listened to and adopted – often through the use of strong colourful language! He was very hardworking, well respected across all sectors and a ‘hard nut’ when he had to be.

Pat is remembered as being an outstanding Chairman of VRFish who achieved a lot for our sector. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten. His legacy will live on with the fishing opportunities many thousands of fishers enjoy today.

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