Join Now as a Member of VRFish

A new era for VRFish, the peak body for recreational fishing in Victoria, is taking shape with the launch of our new membership category for individual fishers

For the first time, any recreational fisher can join VRFish as part of sweeping membership reforms to give Victorian recreational fishers an even stronger and independent voice to protect the future of fishing. An inclusive membership model has been developed to make a break away from a restrictive ‘representative’ structure that has been in operation since the creation of the peak body in 1994. 

A key component of our new and improved membership model is to make it easer for fishers to join and support the mission and activities of VRFish. It also brings VRFish in line with a range of other sporting organisations, sector peak bodies and not-for-profits which offer a range of membership options.

Whether you are an individual, a fishing club, a fishing association or another organisation involved in recreational fishing the good news is you can join VRFish today. Since May this year, 75 Victorian fishing clubs have joined VRFish in their own right – and that number is still growing. This represents more than 5,500 club members that we can communicate with on a regular basis, call upon their support and expertise, support stronger fishing clubs and invite them to be part of Victoria’s largest recreational fishing community.

Before we created the individual membership, we first wanted to find what would fishers want from a VRFish membership, would they be interested to join and what kinds of services and benefits would they value. To find some answers we turned to a subset of our 50,000 + subscribers to help us out through a survey. 

We found that 96% of respondents wanted, through a VRFish membership, to help fund new programs such as fish habitat improvements, education programs and research. Interestingly, it confirmed to us once again that fishers want VRFish to run projects on their behalf and deliver meaningful outcomes that make fishing better.

The next raft of preferred benefits and services fishers wanted from a VRFish individual membership was to improve our advocacy efforts; support a stronger voice on fishing matters; educate the next generation of fishers; and to receive regular information about key issues affecting recreational fishing. Interestingly, incentives such as receiving merchandise or branded fishing tackle rated low among fishers surveyed. Equally, over half of the respondents indicated they would be interested to join and take out a membership.

Armed with these insights, the VRFish Board has made a call to attach an annual due of $25 to the membership so that we can adequately fulfil our promise to provide those services, improve our communications to members and in the future invest membership revenue into small projects important to them. This amount was derived from the survey where we asked fishers what they would be prepared to pay for an individual membership. 

We recognise that a paid membership may not be for everyone so it’s important to note our existing subscriber service will always remain free and is excellent way to keep in touch with VRFish, learn about the big issues and events in recreational fishing and participate in important surveys of recreational fishers. We have also added a ‘Have Your Say’ page to our website so that anyone can easily find out about processes that VRFish are consulting fishers on. Also, all of our submissions and letters are located on our website which is our commitment to Victorian fishers to be open and transparent. 

Creating a new revenue stream through membership fees is strategically important for VRFish and recreational fishing as even a small amount of membership revenue has the potential to make a big difference. Our analysis of other sporting associations, peak bodies and similar advocacy not-for-profits found that VRFish’s annual revenue is very low in comparison.

For example, both Badminton Victoria and Table Tennis Victoria have a larger revenue base. Several environmental groups in Victoria who do not support recreational fishing have annual revenue well in excess of $1.5 million and an army of staff, some as large as 17 full-time employees. On the other hand, VRFish has just 2 full-time staff and 1 part-time staff and is heavily reliant on volunteers to fill the demand of 838,000 adults who participate in recreational fishing in Victoria from a sector that contributes $7.1 billion in both indirect and direct economic value to the state.

Practically all of VRFish’s revenue is derived from a service level agreement with the Victorian Government which is funded by your recreational fishing license fees. Our deliverables are to provide advocacy and consolidated advice on a vast array of issues affecting recreational fishing. It’s a critically important role and equally a tremendous responsibility on behalf of Victorian recreational fishers to ensure our voice is heard loud and clear by decision-makers. A disadvantage, however, is we are bound to deliver upon a funding agreement with Government, rather than be responsive, flexible and have the capacity to also deliver what our members and fishers want from VRFish.

Our individual memberships are available online from our website. For further information download our individual member brochure. If you have any further queries or questions, please drop us a line at [email protected]

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