Abalone fishers asked to keep safety in mind

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Tomorrow’s forecast is for high temperatures, with a moderate rising tide, moderate swell and low winds from mixed directions, but conditions may vary on the day. Picture: Anita McInnes

RECREATIONAL fishing for abalone in the West Coast zone is due to take place from 7am to 8am tomorrow but fishers need to keep personal safety top of mind.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for high temperatures, with a moderate rising tide, moderate swell and low winds from mixed directions, but conditions may vary on the day.

Licensed abalone fishers, who plan to take part, are reminded to make an individual assessment of the sea and weather conditions on the day to ensure their water skills, clothing and gear are suitable for abalone fishing.

The Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) recommendation for tomorrow, based on prediction modelling, is that fishing can proceed with appropriate caution due to a medium risk rating.

SLSWA’s hazardous surf assessment modelling uses the best available information on sea and weather conditions from multiple information sources and sites, which rates the risks for factors such as wind speed, swell, tide and swell period.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said the conditions were likely to be more challenging than the opening hour of the season last month so fishers should have a cautious approach on Saturday.

“Fishers are urged to study the waves before getting into the water, keep an eye on the swell while fishing and wear the right gear – it’s easy to be injured on reefs,” she said.

“If you are unsure whether conditions are too rough, don’t go in.

“We also ask fishers to fish at locations patrolled by lifesavers, not rush in and out of the water, to be aware of other fishers and to not be tempted to go beyond their abilities in the ocean.”

Safety tips for abalone fishing are also available on Surf Life Saving WA’s website at: https://www.mybeach.com.au/safety-rescue-services/coastal-recreation/abalone/

Ms Jones said abalone stocks off Perth have now recovered from the 2010-11 marine heatwave, delivering the first successful recovery of Roe’s abalone stocks in Australia and leading to the benefit of an additional fishing hour for fishers in the 2020-21 season.

“The recovery has been made possible by good scientific assessment and strong management action as well as the ongoing support of recreational and commercial abalone fishers.

“DPIRD fisheries scientists will continue to monitor this season’s abalone catch to ensure the combined take across the five fishing hours planned for this season is sustainable.”

See the West Coast zone season dates and rules in the Abalone recreational fishing guide 2020/21