THE fishing season for blue swimmer crabs will return on Sunday with new catch limits following a three-month closure.
Fishers will be able to return to fishing blue swimmer crabs in the Swan and Canning rivers, the Peel-Harvey Estuary and along coastal waters from Perth to Minninup Beach, south of Bunbury, on December 1.
The return also brings a new daily bag limit of five blue swimmer crabs in the Swan and Canning rivers.
The maximum bag limit of 10 blue swimmers still applies within Geographe Bay but recreational fishers won’t be able to take more than five female crabs per day.
For all other areas in the West Coast Bioregion, including the Peel-Harvey Estuary, the daily bag limit per fisher remains at 10 blue swimmer crabs and the boat limit is still 20 crabs per day.
The separate year-round closure in Cockburn Sound still applies.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the department’s researchers advised the warm November weather should bring a good start to the new crabbing season.
“Crab is king for Western Australian recreational fishers and fishing for them is part of WA’s highly valued summer lifestyle,” he said.
“That’s why we implemented protections earlier this year to ensure generations to come can share in this experience.
“As announced in August, work is underway to buy out commercial licences in the Warnbro Sound, Cockburn Sound and Mandurah to Bunbury developmental crab fisheries, prior to their permanent closure.”
Crab fishing was closed since September 1 following the introduction of an annual closure to protect breeding stock and bolster the blue swimmers’ resilience.
The closure was implemented in agreement with Recfishwest, Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and the Southern Seafood Producers WA Association.
For more information on the fishing rules, visit http://www.fish.wa.gov.au.