RECREATIONAL crayfishing is now permitted 365 days a year.
The extension of recreational rock lobster fishing south of North West Cape, near Exmouth, has been enabled by “exemplary management of the fishery”, the State Government said in a media release.
Previously recreational rock lobster fishing south of North West Cape would close between July 1 to October 14.
The change opens the door to winter rock lobster fishing at key holiday destinations such as Rottnest Island, the Abrolhos Islands and the Cape to Cape region in WA’s South-West.
As part of the recreational fisher’s responsibility to reduce the risk of pot rope entanglements with migrating humpback whales, recreational lobster fishers will be asked to adopt a new approach to their fishing State-wide.
Recfishers on both the south and west coasts will now have the same night-fishing curfew, be restricted to two floats and required to ensure the top half of their pot ropes are held vertically in the water column, when using more than 20 metres of rope.
This arrangement gets ropes off the surface and complements the whale interaction mitigation measures already in place for the commercial sector.
These new rules will apply all year round.
“From July 1, recreational fishers will be able to catch WA’s iconic western rock lobster 365 days of the year,” Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said.
“This decision is expected to stimulate winter tourism along our stunning coastline, to the benefit of businesses in our coastal communities.
“The season extension is testament to WA’s successful integrated fisheries management strategies, which ensure we have fish for the future and that our marine environment is ecologically sustainable.
“The WA Government has worked closely with Recfishwest on this season extension to create safe, winter fishing opportunities, while taking steps to mitigate risks of entanglements with migrating whales.
“The public is reminded that fishing in winter weather can be dangerous, and to take extra precautions and prepare well to ensure a safe fishing experience.”