Catch! - Recreational fishing news from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia
Issue No.48, December 2019

West coast demersal fishing open

Western Australian dhufish

Freshly caught pink snapper, dhufish and baldchin groper can be targeted again, with fishing in most areas of the West Coast Bioregion now open.

The annual closure is one of several measures to manage recreational and charter catches under a management plan to allow demersal scalefish species to recover by 2030. The department's latest research update on how the recovery is progressing is now available online.

Please be aware of species specific closures that are still in place in the West Coast Bioregion – Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds do not re-open for pink snapper fishing until 1 February, and the Abrolhos Islands is closed for baldchin groper fishing until 1 February.

More information on seasonal closures in the West Coast Bioregion is available on our website.

New bag limits for blue swimmer crab

Plate of cooked fish

The re-opening of the Perth and South West area for blue swimmer crab fishing on 1 December also marked the start of new daily bag limits in the Swan and Canning rivers and Geographe Bay.

In the Swan and Canning Rivers, the daily bag limit is now five crabs per person. In Geographe Bay, a maximum of five female crabs can be included in the 10 crab daily bag limit.

Boat limits in the West Coast Bioregion remain at 20 crabs per boat when there are 2 or more people on board, or 4 or more people on board in the Swan and Canning Rivers. In Geographe Bay, you can have a maximum of 10 female crabs on board as part of your 20 crab boat possession limit.

Stay safe this abalone season

Abalone fisher carrying a bag of freshly caught abalone

This year’s abalone fishing days in the West Coast Zone (currently between Busselton Jetty and Moore River) are between 7am and 8am on:
• Saturday 11 January 2020
• Saturday 1 February 2020
• Saturday 15 February 2020.

Local water conditions can vary between fishing locations and fishers must take responsibility for their own safety – at no time should you enter the water unless you are confident in your ability to handle the conditions.

More safety tips for abalone fishing are available on the SLSWA website and in the Abalone recreational fishing guide.
The number of days may be reduced or extended if in-season monitoring shows it is necessary to protect stock sustainability or to provide additional opportunity to take the recreational sector’s catch.

To ensure fisher and SLSWA volunteer safety, the department, in consultation with SLSWA and Recfishwest, will close the fishery if unsafe conditions are predicted for that day.

You must have a current licence to fish for abalone and produce it if requested by a Fisheries Officer.

Statewide rec fishing guide out now

Recreational fishing guide 2020

The statewide Recreational fishing guide has been updated for 2020 and is now available online and at select Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development offices. 

The updated guide includes information on recent changes to pink snapper and blue swimmer crab management, and cooking and storing recreationally-caught fish in your holiday accommodation's restaurant.

It also includes information on bag and size limits, possession limits, fishing licences, closed seasons, protected areas, safety and catch care, amongst other useful fishing information.

Shellfish, crabbing and fishing warning for the Swan River

The Department of Health is advising people not to eat fish, crabs or shellfish collected from within the Swan River, extending from Pelican Point to Como Jetty and upstream to Tonkin Highway Bridge.

This area includes the commonly known areas of Matilda Bay, Perth Waters, Elizabeth Quay, Barrack Street Jetty, Claisebrook Cove, Maylands Yacht Club, Ascot Waters and Riverside Gardens.

This warning follows recent testing which has confirmed potentially toxic microscopic algae at elevated levels.

You can read more in the department's media statement​.