Blue ringed octopuses won’t close abalone fishing

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After five separate sightings of blue ringed octopuses at Yanchep Lagoon DPIRD is advising recreational abalone fishers to wear dive gloves.

DESPITE five separate sightings of blue ringed octopuses at Yanchep beach in two days abalone fishing will still go ahead tomorrow Saturday, February 3 from 7am to 8am.

In a tweet at 7.21pm on Wednesday, January 31 Surf Life Saving WA reminded people to be aware of warnings from lifeguards about blue ringed octopuses.

Their bite is highly venomous,’’ the tweet said.

“Make sure you watch where you are walking near the water and do not attempt to touch them – dead or alive.

“If you suspect a bite seek medical help straight away.’’

On Friday, February 2 morning the City of Wanneroo tweeted there had been five separate sightings of blue ringed octopuses on the reef at Yanchep beach in the past two days.

The tweet said temporary signage had been erected to warn beach users.

Just before noon Yanchep News Online asked Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly if abalone fishing would still go ahead on Saturday morning.

About 4.30pm Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development aquatic resources management director Nathan Harrison said blue ringed octopus occurred naturally along the west coast including the Yanchep Lagoon.

Mr Harrison said sighting blue ringed octopus was not uncommon.

“The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is not currently considering any proposal to close the recreational abalone fishery tomorrow,’’ he said.

“For their own protection recreational abalone fishers are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing – including wearing dive gloves. “Recreational fishers should also be on the lookout for octopus and other sea creatures when removing abalone from a reef.’’

The SLSWA abalone fishing tips include information about wearing diving gloves to prevent cuts and bruises.

DPIRD safety tips include advice to carry your catch in a loose-weave net bag (this will allow water to pass through and not become a dragging weight), attach your measuring gauge to your wrist (don’t hang it around your neck) and to study the waves before you get into the water and keep an eye on the swell while fishing – it is easy to be injured on reefs.

The tips also advise fishers to wear protective footwear and a wetsuit or light clothing that will not become too heavy when wet.

Neither the SLSWA or DPIRD safety tips mention wearing gloves to guard against accidentally picking up sea creatures such as blue ringed octopuses.