Extra hour for abalone fishers in March

Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club and Two Rocks Volunteer Marine Rescue members patrol off Yanchep Lagoon on Saturday, February 16. Picture: Anita McInnes

RECREATIONAL fishers will have an additional hour to collect abalone at Yanchep Lagoon in the west coast zone next month.

Licenced fishers in the west coast zone, which also includes Two Rocks and Moore River, had one hour between 7am and 8am to fish yesterday (Saturday, February 16).

The extra hour scheduled to replace the cancelled January session will depending on weather and sea conditions be held on March 9.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said after a recommendation by Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA), a decision was made to cancel recreational abalone fishing on Saturday, January 12.

Comprehensive monitoring of the recreational abalone catch, to date, has predicted that, with a fourth day’s fishing next month, the total catch for the season will not exceed the sustainable target range of 18 to 22 tonnes.

Ms Jones said there would also be an assessment of weather and sea conditions in the days prior to March 9.

“It’s good news for abalone fishers that a fourth day’s fishing can been scheduled, however, at all times safety is a priority for the department and each day’s fishing will always be assessed carefully in the lead up days, so that any decision to cancel can be made by the Wednesday beforehand,” she said.

Ms Jones said the department was confident the catch levels on the three fishing days had not exceeded the reference levels and would be within the sustainability range thus allowing the programming of extra day’s fishing in March.

She said for the fishery to remain sustainable it was vital fishers complied with the bag and size limits for abalone so fisheries officers were at abalone fishing locations in the west coast zone, between the Busselton Jetty and Moore River, to check compliance.

More on abalone fishing rules is available at www.fish.wa.gov.au

SLSWA has fishing safety tips at abalone fishing tips

Help keep everyone safe – report shark sightings to water police on 9442 8600.