Changes to abalone season after four deaths.

The State Government says during the abalone fishing season it will close Yanchep and Two Rock beaches if poor weather conditions pose a threat to fisher safety.

CHANGES to the way the abalone season is managed means fishing days at Yanchep and Two Rocks can be cancelled in a bid to improve safety for recreational fishers and lifeguards.

The west coast zone season will now run over summer to reduce the risk of rough weather conditions and fishing days will be on four specified Saturdays, with the first fishing day scheduled for December 9, instead of Sundays, between 7am and 8am.

The changes are the result of a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development review into the fishery after the deaths of four people since 2012.

Following consultation with Recfishwest and Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly approved the changes.

The changes mean that if severe weather conditions are forecast, the department can act on the advice of councils, SLSWA and Recfishwest to close the fishery.

Mr Kelly the aim of moving to Saturday fishing days in summer was to reduce the potential of encountering bad weather, which put fishers’ lives at risk.

“Changing the fishing day from Sunday to Saturday will also help free up SLSWA resources from competing activities, ensuring they can help make the early one-hour fishing windows safer in the new season,’’ he said.

“These new arrangements were developed in consultation with Recfishwest and SLSWA and provides a balance between fisher safety and sustainability.

“We want to ensure this rare and unique fishing opportunity remains safe and available to recreational fishers in the long term.’’

He said throughout the season, the recreational abalone catch would be closely monitored to ensure the fishery’s sustainability and that this season’s total catch was between 18-22 tonnes, with options to reduce, or extend, the number of fishing days to keep the catch within this range.’’