10 fined, 3 to be prosecuted for various abalone fishing offences

Fisheries and Marine officer Dale Stanton was among the patrols overlooking abalone catchers on reefs on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Fisheries and Marine officer Dale Stanton was among the patrols overlooking abalone catchers on reefs on Saturday. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

FISHERIES officers will prosecute three men and fine 10 abalone catchers after fishing opened for prized shellfish along the Perth coast last Saturday..

“The general conditions for abalone fishing were described as excellent, and catcher numbers were observed to be ‘about the same’ as day one of the current season, but a little down compared with last year,” a Department of Fisheries spokesman said.

Officers will allege two men, whose suburbs and ages were undisclosed, had 84 Roe’s abalone, of which 17 were undersize, before they provided false details.

At an undisclosed location, it will be alleged another man had 124 Roe’s abalone, five of which were undersize, in his car.

“The possession limit is 20, so in this case there were 104 abalone in excess of the limit, before all 124 abalone were seized,” the spokesman said.

The officers also issued 29 warnings to people with more than the limit, 17 for undersize abalone, and one for fishing after the 8am deadline.

There were 10 fines between $200 and $1000 issued for having more than the daily bag limit, possessing undersize abalone and not having a licence

This season, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) launched a safety campaign after successfully getting the number of catching days reduced and moved to when there were more lifesavers on Saturdays.

A SLSWA spokeswoman said there were three rescues, three people who needed first aid and 30 incidents when the volunteers prevented further injury last Saturday.

“It was a safe and successful morning,” she said.

The remaining abalone hours of 7am to 8am, are on February 3 and 17.

SLSWA general manager Chris Peck said catchers should still check weather before deciding to go, they had to take responsibility for their behaviour, wear appropriate long-sleeved wetsuits and reef shoes, and fish with a friend or a group for safety.

Safety advice is at www.mybeach.com.au/abalone, and details on where you can go and licences are at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

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