Final West Coast abalone session for the season tomorrow

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Fishers are advised to measure abalone before removing them from coastal reefs tomorrow morning. Picture: Anita McInnes

ABALONE fishers on reef tops during the final session of the West Coast zone recreational season tomorrow need to watch out for holes and drop-off, which can be hazardous to participants with low swimming skills.

For this season’s final West Coast zone abalone session tomorrow Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) is predicting a moderate rising tide and moderate primary swell, along with moderate winds tending offshore.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said licensed recreational abalone fishers needed to keep safety in mind.

Ms Jones said fishers planning to take part in tomorrow’s fishing session needed to be sure of their own safety and competence in the sea and weather conditions they could encounter and recognise their water skills, clothing and gear needed to be suitable for abalone fishing.

Ms Jones also thanked compliance and research staff involved in the 2020-21 season, as well as volunteers who helped DPIRD researchers keep track of and count catches through the season to help determine the approximate take for each session.

SLSWA’s prediction modelling for tomorrow sets the overall safety risk at medium and their recommendation is for recreational abalone fishing between 7am and 8am to proceed with caution.

SLSWA uses the best available information on ocean and weather conditions from multiple information sources and rates factors such as wind speed, swell, tide and swell period to help assess safety risks.

This weekend’s final session of the West Coast Zone (WCZ) recreational abalone season not only replaces one of the designated fishing hours that was cancelled earlier this year, but is also the fifth session for the 2020-21 season made possible by the improved abalone stocks along the Perth coast.

Following the 2010-11 marine heatwave off WA’s coast, the comprehensive research and management program that supports the fishery has enabled the stock to recover and fishers can continue to enjoy fishing for this delicacy on the doorstep of our capital city.

Fishers can also play their part in the ongoing sustainability of the abalone resource by following rules and measuring abalone before removing any of them from coastal reefs tomorrow morning.

DPIRD said the future of the fishery was in the hands of recreational fishers and it was vital all fishers treated it with a sense of personal responsibility and stewardship.

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

SLSWA has abalone fishing safety tips at https://www.mybeach.com.au/safety-rescue-services/coastal-recreation/abalone/