CONCERN for the sfaety of abalone fishers following New Year’s Eve celebrations has seen the next fishing period changed.
The Department of Fisheries has moved the session initially scheduled for January 1 to the following Sunday, January 8, from 7am to 8am.
Strategic fisheries policy director Nathan Harrison said the shift was made because of safety concerns.
“In light of the fact that one man died on the first day of the 2016-17 abalone season and that fisher safety could be compromised on New Year’s Day, an order has been made to prohibit fishing for abalone on Sunday, January 1,” he said.
“We don’t want a situation where people who have been celebrating the New Year too hard, then try their hand at abalone fishing first thing in the morning; this could potentially put fishers and surf lifesaving volunteers at risk.”
Mr Harrison said fisheries and marine officers would be patrolling abalone fishing spots on New Year’s Day to ensure fishers abided by the closure.
The season got off to a tragic start with a Balcatta man dying in hospital after being pulled from the water at Mettams Pool in North Beach on November 6.
Abalone fishers must have a licence and can fish between Moore River and Busselton Jetty on dedicated dates.