Catch! - Recreational fishing news from DPIRD Fisheries, Western Australia
Issue No. 41 (special edition), December 2018

Keep your eyes peeled as part of Operation Clearview

Abalone fishers on a reef-top

As part of Operation Clearview, Fisheries compliance officers will be targeting illegal abalone fishing when the season kicks off on 8 December to ensure the sustainability of this important resource.

In keeping with the changes that were introduced prior to last season, the season this year will run for one hour, from 7.00am to 8.00am, on the following four Saturdays:

  • 8 December
  • 12 January
  • 2 February
  • 16 February

Any fishing in the West Coast Zone outside of these times is illegal, and offenders may face fines of up to $40,000 or four years’ imprisonment, as well as forfeiture of vessels, vehicles and fishing equipment.

While officers from the Department are continually on patrol to protect our unique abalone fishing areas, they also need your help. If you see anyone taking abalone outside of the fishing times, or taking more than their share, please report it immediately to the FishWatch hotline on 1800 815 507.

Take note of what they were doing, where it happened, and other useful information, such as the type of car or boat or a registration number.

Know your limits

Abalone held in hands

Western Australia is home to one of the few remaining sustainable wild-stock abalone fisheries, and the rules in place around tight seasonal arrangements, and size and bag limits are the key means of making sure it stays that way.

Due to poor recruitment of juvenile Roe’s abalone following the marine heatwave in 2011, the current recreational catch allocation is set at 20 tonnes. The length of the open recreational fishing season for abalone may be adjusted during the season to ensure recreational catch is consistent with this allocation and managed in a sustainable manner.

It takes about four years for abalone to reach legal size, which gives females at least two spawning seasons before they can be taken by fishers. The three types of abalone which are large enough to be fished, and their minimum sizes, are:

  • Roe’s abalone – 60mm
  • Greenlip abalone – 140mm
  • Brownlip abalone – 140mm

Roe’s abalone are most commonly caught on the reefs close to shore in the West Coast Zone during the abalone season from December to February. Make sure you have an appropriate measuring tool while fishing so you can be sure anything you take is of legal size.

Daily bag limits also apply to all catchable species of abalone. In the West Coast Zone, the daily limits are:

  • Roe’s abalone – 15 per fisher per day
  • Greenlip and Brownlip abalone – 5 per fisher per day (combined)

Gear up for safe abalone fishing this summer

Safety gear for abalone fishing

Make sure you have appropriate safety gear ahead of the upcoming West Coast Zone recreational fishing season.

In the event of predicted bad weather conditions, on advice from Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA), the Department will close and reschedule the fishing day.

While SLSWA volunteers do a tremendous job, five people have drowned while abalone fishing in recent years. Fishers must take responsibility for their own safety and at no time should you enter the water unless you are confident in your ability to handle the sea conditions.

We urge you to ensure you have appropriate and functioning safety gear including a snorkel, diving mask, long sleeve wetsuit, gloves, reef shoes and a mesh bag that will not become a drag-hazard.

Tips on abalone fishing safety, including information on the right gear to wear, are available on the SLSWA website. More.