Last hour of abalone season on Saturday

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Licensed fishers can collect abalone this Saturday in the west coast zone, which extends from Moore River at Guilderton to Busselton jetty in the south. Picture: Anita McInnes

ABALONE fishing can take place this Saturday for one hour in the west coast zone, which is between Moore River at Guilderton and Busselton jetty in the south.

But abalone fishing remains off limits and permanently closed north of Moore River all the way to the Northern Territory border, until stocks have recover to sustainable levels.

This Saturday’s fishing between 7am to 8am in the west coast zone will be the last hour of the 2019-20 abalone season.

You must have a licence to fish for abalone and be prepared to produce it if required.

Apply for a new licence or renew an existing licence online at fish.wa.gov.au

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is urging fishers to measure their abalone before removing any of them from coastal reefs on Saturday as sustainability of the fishery depends on the survival of undersize abalone.

DPIRD senior management officer Rhiannon Jones said it was important that fishers complied with the abalone bag and size limits.

Ms Jones said compliance officers would be on the job at abalone fishing locations in the west coast zone, between the Busselton Jetty and Moore River, to check fishing rules were followed.

The Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) surf prediction modelling for Saturday, February 15 sets the risk factors in the low to medium range and the recommendation was to proceed with  the fishing session.

SLSWA uses the best available information on sea and weather conditions from multiple information sources and rates the risks for factors such as wind speed, swell, tide and swell period to help build the modelling they use to assess the risk range. 

But Ms Jones said fishers still needed to keep safety in mind.

“We urge fishers planning to take part in this Saturday’s fishing hour to make sure of their own safety and competence in the sea and weather conditions they encounter and recognise their water skills, clothing and gear need to be suitable for abalone fishing,” she said.

“We’ve been lucky that all fishing sessions have gone ahead as planned this season and there has been no need for any cancellations based on predicted conditions.

“The flexibility of having the fishing hours on Saturdays in the warmer months of the year puts the safety of recreational fishers and SLSWA volunteers first.

“We should all offer our appreciation to SLSWA and their clubs for their assistance in the 2019-20 season in making life savers and equipment available to monitor fisher safety.”

Ms Jones also thanked volunteers who help DPIRD researchers keep track of and count catches to help determine the approximate take for each session.