Busselton resident Michelle Lee awarded WA's highest Fishability honour

Fishability coordinator Michelle Lee was awarded the organisation's highest honour receiving the Nev Thomas Award for her commitment to provide all people in the community with recreational fishing opportunities.
Fishability coordinator Michelle Lee was awarded the organisation's highest honour receiving the Nev Thomas Award for her commitment to provide all people in the community with recreational fishing opportunities.

Busselton resident Michelle Lee was awarded WA's highest Fishability honour this week when she received the Nev Thomas Award for her commitment to providing recreational fishing opportunities to people of all abilities across the South-West.

Ms Lee said she was absolutely honoured to receive the highest esteemed award that you could get with Fishability.

"It is just amazing I am absolutely stoked, I cried a little bit, I wasn't really expecting it," she said.

The not-for-profit organisation provide opportunities for people all around WA to take part in recreational fishing.

"We bring down all the gear, rods, safety equipment, bait and teach people how to fish," she said.

"It is not just for people who live with a disability, I have started doing programs with schools

"In Busselton, about 35 people a week come along to Fishability, I know have 12 volunteers who help out."

Ms Lee started her own group Fishgirl's Fishing Families in 2011, and had around 400 families follow her around WA.

She was approached by Fishabilities in 2014 to start up a group in Busselton.

"I love the smiles the kids and adults, even the oldies in retirement, it is a day they look forward to and it is a reward for the kids," she said.

Ms Lee now runs a day program with schools in the region and an after school program for children which meet up once a fortnight.

Fishability boasts more than 100 volunteers in WA who committed 6,234 hours of service across 25 locations and delivered 202 activities to 2,954 participants around WA during 2018-19.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the state government was pleased to support this valuable organisation which is creating communities, friendships, developing life skills and self-confidence, and breaking down isolation.

"The volunteers who support the charity's programs are vital to its continued success and I commend them for all of their hard work," he said.

"This work, along with the continued partnership with the State Government and community organisations and sponsors, will ensure Fishability continues to grow and develop to deliver a great fishing experience to every person, every time."