TWO men have been fined for illegally taking abalone north of Moore River 10 days ahead of the start of the recreational abalone fishing season.
The Department of Fisheries issued a reminder that abalone fishing in WA waters north of Moore River had been closed since 2011.
“The closure of abalone fishing along this part of the coast remains in place so that abalone stocks can recover to a sustainable level before any fishing can occur,” it said.
The statement said a magistrate had ordered two men to pay fines, additional penalties and court costs totalling $5628 each for taking 154 Roe’s abalone and two Scalaris abalone from a reef top north of Moore River.
“This prosecution was made possible by two vigilant fishers who noticed what they suspected was illegal activity; we appreciate this public support in helping recovery of the abalone fishery,” it said.
The 2016-17 recreational abalone season starts on November 6, with licensed fishers given one hour on the first Sunday of each month until March to take abalone between Moore River and Busselton Jetty.
Bag limits are 15 abalone per fisher per day in the west coast zone, with the legal minimum size of each to be 60mm wide.
Popular spots include Yanchep Lagoon, where Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club volunteers will patrol from 7-8am on Sunday.
Club president John Heesters said they were expecting good weather conditions but lower fisher numbers because there was less parking at the lagoon due to construction of the new club building.
“The car park is gone – there’s nowhere for people to park,” he said.
Nine volunteers had been out for the first patrol of the 2016-17 surf life saving season last Sunday.
Mr Heesters said up to a dozen volunteer surf lifesavers would help with the November 6 abalone patrol.
“They make an effort for abalone because it is such a life-threatening thing,” he said.
Two Rocks Volunteer Marine Rescue Group will patrol the water beyond the reef and Surf Life Saving WA plans to send jet skis to help with patrols.
Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities can call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.