Abalone fishing session to go ahead this weekend in West Coast Zone

About 140 people ventured onto the reef at Yanchep Lagoon for the first abalone fishing session of the season.
About 140 people ventured onto the reef at Yanchep Lagoon for the first abalone fishing session of the season.

THE recreational abalone fishing session will go ahead tomorrow, and an extra fishing hour has been scheduled for March 9 to replace the cancelled January session.

The January 12 session was cancelled following a recommendation by Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) due to the high swell conditions.

Fisheries has advised that the February 16 session in the West Coast Zone will go ahead between 7am and 8am as the total catch for the season will not exceed the sustainable target range of 18 to 22 tonnes with a fourth day’s fishing.

SLSWA has also recommended, based on surf prediction modelling and low to medium risk factors, that fishing can proceed this Saturday.

Authorities reminded licensed abalone fishers planning to take part in the fishing hour to individually assess the sea and weather conditions on the day and ensure their water skills, clothing and gear were suitable for abalone fishing.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said that, in line with the current season arrangements, there would also be an assessment of weather and sea conditions in the days prior to March 9.

“It’s good news for abalone fishers that a fourth day’s fishing can been scheduled, however, at all times safety is a priority for the department and each day’s fishing will always be assessed carefully in the lead-up days, so that any decision to cancel can be made by the Wednesday beforehand,” Ms Jones said.

“The catch levels on the two fishing days so far have not exceeded the reference levels and, even with a planned fishing day still to occur this Saturday, we are now confident the season’s total catch will be within the sustainability range, therefore the extra day’s fishing is now programmed.

“For this fishery to remain sustainable, it’s vital fishers comply with the bag and size limits for abalone and departmental Fisheries officers will be at abalone fishing locations in the West Coast Zone, between the Busselton Jetty and Moore River, to check compliance on Saturday.”

Visit www.fish.wa.gov.au and www.mybeach.com.au/safety-rescue-services/coastal-recreation/abalone/