RECREATIONAL fishing for abalone will go ahead this Saturday but fishers are reminded to keep their personal safety top of mind.
Based on surf prediction modelling, including wind speed, swell and tide, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) gave the recommendation that fishing between 7am and 8am in the West Coast Zone can proceed, but with caution.
Licensed abalone fishers taking part are reminded to make an individual assessment of the sea and weather conditions on the day and ensure their water skills, clothing and gear are suitable for abalone fishing.
While the wind speed and swell height are important, swell period is equally important and can often be overlooked as a key factor when analysing forecast conditions.
A long swell period is known to double the forecast wave height and has the potential to make conditions more unpredictable for participants.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development aquatic resource management director Nathan Harrison said while the forecast swell period would be lower than predictions for the cancelled January 12 fishing day, caution was still needed for this Saturday.
“Putting safety first is a priority for the department, SLSWA and Recfishwest – no abalone is worth risking your life over,” Mr Harrison said.
“The SLSWA modelling for Saturday sets the risk factors in the upper medium range.
“If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, don’t go in.
“Study the waves before you get into the water, keep an eye on the swell while fishing and wear the right gear – it’s easy to be injured on reefs.”
Mr Harrison said to replace the cancelled abalone fishing day in January, an extra fishing day could be added to the end of the current fishing season.
“At this stage the proposed additional day is being considered for Saturday, March 9, but this is subject to the estimated recreational abalone catches being within the sustainable target levels of 18 to 22 tonnes if the extra day is added,” he said
“The department continues to monitor this season’s catch so that information on the additional day can be provided as early as possible.
“At the latest, fishers will be advised of the extension to the season in the week following the last scheduled fishing day on Saturday, February 16.”