Catch! - Recreational fishing news from Fisheries, Western Australia
Issue No. 34 (special edition), December 2017

New abalone dates for safer, sustainable fishing

Abalone fishers on a reef-top

Changes have been made to the 2017/18 recreational abalone fishing season in the West Coast Zone (from Moore River to Busselton Jetty, including Perth metropolitan waters) to improve fisher safety and assist stock sustainability.

After consultation with Recfishwest and Surf Life Saving WA, this season’s fishing days will run entirely over the summer months, reducing the risk of rough weather conditions.

However, if severe weather conditions are forecast, we will close the fishery if advised by local councils, SLSWA and Recfishwest.

Fishing will move to Saturdays, between 7 am and 8 am on the following four days – 9 December 2017, 13 January, 3 February and 17 February 2018.

The season may be reduced or extended to ensure the total recreational catch of abalone (Roe’s and greenlip/brownlip) is within the target range of 18-22 tonnes. More.

Stay safe while fishing

Abalone fisher wearing a wetsuit

Since 2012, four abalone fishers have died and more than 100 have been rescued in Western Australia.

Abalone fishers need to put their personal safety first and not take risks or enter the water to fish for abalone if conditions are dangerous.

Fishers should check the weather and swell conditions before taking to the water, wear a wetsuit or light clothing and protective footwear, carry your catch in a loose-weave net and attach your measuring gauge to your wrist − don’t hang it around your neck.

If you get into trouble, try to stay calm and raise one arm to attract help.

Counting the catch

Several abalone and an abalone gauge

Fishing for abalone is a highly popular pastime and more than 18,000 abalone licences were issued last season. The coast between Trigg and Burns Beach off Perth is a key area in the popular West Coast Zone, with about 5,000 abalone fishers out there on a fine day in the fishing season.

Our in-season monitoring program is extensive and includes counting the number of fishers and weighing some of the catches at key fishing sites, from which the overall catch taken on that day can be estimated.

On average, about four tonnes of abalone is collected during each hour of the season. But with abalone stocks in decline in recent years due to environmental factors, fishing for this precious resource needs to be managed carefully.

Play by the rules

Fisheries officer on the beach

Fisheries Officers will be closely monitoring fishers through the season to make sure they keep to the rules.

Sticking to the daily bag limit per licensed fisher (15 Roe’s abalone in the West Coast Zone) and measuring abalone before taking them is essential to ensure the species remains sustainable.

You can receive a hefty fine for exceeding the bag limit or taking Roe’s abalone smaller than 60 mm.  Fishing can only be done for yourself – not for friends or other family members.