Abalone season starts on Sunday

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Abalone fishing is allowed from 7am to 8am on the first Sunday of each month from November to March in the west coast zone. Picture: Department of Fisheries

ABALONE fishers can visit beaches from Jindalee to Yanchep to Moore River for one hour tomorrow morning to collect the popular shellfish.

Almost 17,000 abalone fishing licences had been issued by Friday, November 4 as fishers prepare for the start of the west coast zone abalone season, which includes abalone fishing areas between Moore River and Busselton Jetty.

But Fisheries Minister Joe Francis said fishers needed to be aware abalone fishing was closed until further notice from Moore River to the Western Australian and Northern Territory border.

“Fisheries officers will patrol abalone fishing spots on the allocated fishing days, to ensure fishers are licensed and aware of the rules,” he said.

“It is very important fishers measure carefully to ensure an abalone is legal size before removing it from a reef, and to abide by the bag limit.

“Recreational abalone fishers should also keep their safety in mind at all times and not take risks if they encounter bad weather or big swells during the season.

“No abalone is worth a life.

“We’re very lucky to have a recreational abalone fishery on our doorstep, however we need to maintain careful management and good compliance to ensure abalone fishers can enjoy the experience for years to come.

“Abalone stocks have been in decline in recent years due to environmental factors affecting growth and the recruitment of juvenile abalone, so we must manage the fishery carefully.”

The west coast zone abalone season is open from 7am to 8am on the first Sunday of each month from November to March.

But Mr Franci said the Department of Fisheries may need to reduce the number of fishing days to prevent the season target of 20 tonnes being exceeded.

He said Fisheries and Recfishwest would be assessing recreational catches and the abalone stock during the season to closely monitor the situation.

The minimum legal size for Roe’s abalone is 60mm and the daily west coast zone bag limit is 15.

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