Catch! - Recreational fishing news from Fisheries, Western Australia
Issue No. 33, November 2017

Changes to abalone season in West Coast Zone

Abalone fisher in wetsuit walking onto reef

New measures are being employed to improve fishing safety for Western Australia’s unique West Coast Zone recreational abalone fishery.

Following consultation with Recfishwest and Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA), this season’s fishing days will be run over the summer months to reduce the risk of rough weather conditions. Fishing will also be shifted to Saturdays, rather than Sundays as in past years.

There will be four fishing windows, between 7am and 8am on 9 December 2017, 13 January, 3 February and 17 February 2018.

If severe weather conditions are forecast, we will take action on the advice of local councils, SLSWA and Recfishwest to close the fishery.

The recreational abalone catch will be closely monitored throughout the season to ensure the fishery’s sustainability, with options to reduce, or extend, the number of fishing days to keep the catch within the 18-22 tonne range. More.

Yabbies – a boon and a blight

Close up of a large yabby

Many people mistakenly think that yabbies are native to WA because they are widespread in WA farm dams, where they are a valuable aquaculture product. Unfortunately, yabbies have also formed feral pest populations in south-west rivers, where they may outcompete our natives for food and habitat.

As with any other freshwater pest, there is no minimum size or bag limit for yabbies, and we recommended you do not return them to the water but humanely euthanise them. More.

Photo courtesy: Henrique Kwong.

King George skeletons lands Kallaroo man a royal prize

Large King George whiting laying on a weighing scale

Kallaroo recreational fisher, Ryan Satinover, is celebrating having won a fantastic six-night charter fishing trip to the Montebello Islands off the Pilbara coast, donated by Monte Bello Island Safaris.

Ryan won the 2016/17 Send Us Your Skeletons grand prize by donating the skeletons of two fine King George whiting that he caught off Hillarys one afternoon last October – one of which weighed 836 grams before filleting.

Our Send us Your Skeletons citizen science program encourages recreational fishers to donate their fish ‘frames’ (filleted skeletons with the heads and guts intact) to help our scientists with vital monitoring of the State’s most-prized nearshore and demersal fish species, such as herring, pink snapper and dhufishMore.

Buy your licence before travelling

Lady fishing with a rod from a boat

Our beautiful coastline is full of great fishing opportunities, but if a fishing licence is required it may be best to buy it before you travel.

Even though you can buy WA fishing licences online, if you head out from some regional centres, such as Esperance, there’s often little or no phone reception when you leave the town area, so plan ahead and buy before you go.

We know fishers might be tempted to fish without a licence, but we urge them not to risk a fine from our Fisheries and Marine Officers who will be out and about – including at those remote fishing spots. More.

Yellowfin whiting back in the black

Three yellowfin whiting of different sizes on a table

A two-year stock assessment shows the yellowfin whiting stock in the Peel-Harvey Estuary is in good health and sustainable.

Based on data collected from commercial and recreational catches from both estuary and oceanic waters in 2015 and 2016, the age-based assessment indicates that the yellowfin whiting breeding stock is above the target level (i.e. where we want it to be).

The assessment found that the stock had increased recruitment during the 2010/11 marine heatwave, and juveniles from this year class joining the adult stock had led to the increases in catches.

Recreational and commercial catches are now expected to return to levels observed prior to the heatwave. More.

Trout release points to bumper future

Eggs being stripped from female trout

Trout fishers have reasons to be excited for the future as 600,000 rainbow and 20,000 brown trout fry were released into south-west rivers and dams last month.

The numbers of fry (very young trout) released in 2017 will determine how many legal-sized trout are available to catch during the 2019/20 season.

In addition, the release of 35,500 yearling trout, including 6,500 browns, has just been completed. All these trout have been produced at our Pemberton Freshwater Research CentreMore.

Sharing news on rules

Our Community and Education team and Fisheries and Marine Officers have been busy over recent months with a hectic schedule of regional shows and fishing events.

The teams have been on hand to answer all those curly fishing questions and show fishers how they can access the recreational fishing rules on-line, how to identify fish species using the Recfishwest app, as well as sharing information on FishWatch, Sharksmart and our sustainability scorecard.

You can catch us at the Perth 4WD and Adventure Show or the Albany Show this weekend from 10 November.

Boat licence opens bigger world

Man on boat fishing with a rod fighting a fish

A Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence (RFBL) opens up a wide range of fishing opportunities.

With sought-after species such as dhufish, Spanish mackerel and red emperor accessible just a short distance from the shore, many regard WA as a boat fisher’s paradise. To take advantage of this, you need a RFBL, which is required for any fishing activity carried out from a powered boat.

An RFBL also covers you for a number of fishing activities other than just rod and line fishing, including fishing by diving or snorkelling, dipping net for prawns, catching crabs or octopus, jigging for squid, spearing fish or transporting your catch or fishing gear. More.