CALM conditions prevailed during the first recreational abalone fishing session this morning as about 140 people caught fish on the reef at Yanchep Lagoon.
A restructure to the fishery saw this season start five weeks later than previous years, on the second Saturday in December rather than first Sunday in November.
Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club president John Heesters said 14 local volunteers patrolled the lagoon for the hour-long December 9 session in “perfect conditions”, with a Two Rocks Volunteer Marine Rescue Group vessel patrolling the water beyond the reef.
Volunteers from other surf life saving clubs assisted with beach surveys and jetski patrols.
Mr Heesters said safety had improved as a result of the changes implemented by the State Government and Surf Life Saving WA, working with Recfishwest, but there was still more work to do.
“It has improved a little bit – the message has got through to some people,” he said.
“There are still people not fishing in a safe manner.
“There’s still a few wellington boots, a few back packs and people wearing jeans.
“Some people have a baby harness with a baby in it.”
Recreational abalone fishing licence holders will be able to catch the shellfish between 7am and 8am on three more Saturdays – January 13, February 3 and February 17.
If weather conditions are not suitable, Fisheries may close one of those fishing sessions and reschedule it to a March date.