Caution urged as abalone season resumes

Caution urged as abalone season resumes

WA’S tightly managed West Coast Zone abalone fishery opens from 7am to 8am this Sunday (January 8) and recreational fishers are reminded to follow the rules and carefully consider sea conditions as they plan to fish for the seafood delicacy.

The West Coast Zone officially extends from Busselton Jetty to the mouth of the Greenough River but the coastal region north from the Moore River to the WA-NT border remains closed permanently to abalone fishing until further notice.

Fishers are urged to consider their personal safety at all times and not take risks.

Whilst Fisheries and Marine Officers will be out in force during the official season, officers are also targeting out-of-season fishing – for which severe penalties apply.

A 45-year-old Girrawheen man was apprehended last month in the Waterman’s area, allegedly in possession of 255 Roe’s abalone.

Fisheries officers also seized the late-model Jeep he was driving and the case is being investigated with a view to prosecution under trafficking laws that carry fines of up to $400,000 and imprisonment of up to four years.

North Metropolitan compliance manager Todd A’Vard said people suspected of illegal fishing could expect to be apprehended any time and any place by Fisheries officers.

“Fishers can expect to be under surveillance,’’ he said.

If they are breaching the law, they can expect severe penalties and we are calling out to the community, particularly those people who live, work or engage in recreational activities along the coast, to keep a watch out for suspicious activities.

“Illegal abalone fishers are likely to have bags, gloves and screwdrivers and may also have wetsuits and other dive gear,’’ he said.

“They will operate in the shallows, on the reefs where abalone are found – either wading, snorkelling or diving for the abalone – night or day.”

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities should not get involved but call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.