Abalone warning

Abalone fishers should use a proper gauge to check their catch is over the minimum 60mm size.
Abalone fishers should use a proper gauge to check their catch is over the minimum 60mm size.

ABALONE fishers are reminded they need licences and should prioritise their personal safety ahead of the first fishing session this Sunday.

Department of Fisheries officer Martin Holtz said recereational fishers must have a licence and be aware of areas that were closed to fishing, such as the Marmion Marine Park.

‘During access periods, it is important that fishers do not begin fishing before 7am and finish when they have collected their bag limit or by 8am at the latest, whichever comes first,’ Mr Holtz said.

‘Fishers should also be aware that abalone cannot be shucked within 200m of the high water mark.

‘No part of the abalone may be used as bait (including viscera). This will minimise risk of introducing the abalone virus ganglioneuritis ” a disease which has devastated abalone stocks in the eastern states.

‘We also ask fishers to look after their personal safety by wearing appropriate clothing, keeping an eye on weather and sea conditions and also obeying any beach closures or safety directions from local rangers or surf lifesavers.’

Surf Life Saving WA’s Chris Peck said volunteers from the Scarboro, Trigg Island, Mullaloo and Yanchep clubs would be patrolling various fishing spots along the coast.

Mr Peck said the State’s peak recreational fishing body Recfishwest had joined with SLSWA and the Royal Life Saving Society WA to educate abalone fishers on safety measures and encourage fishers to learn basic swimming and water safety skill

Mr Holtz said almost 19 tonnes of abalone was collected during the last season, with catches down due to poor weather conditions.

‘The total allowable recreational catch for the season is set at 40 tonnes,’ he said.

For more information, visit www.fish.wa.gov.au.