Marron season opens on Saturday

348
For a limited season every year recreational fishers have the chance to catch marron in the wild including from the Moore River and its tributaries or from popular irrigation dam locations. Picture: DPIRD

THE marron season starts at noon on Saturday with fishing allowed in the Moore River and its tributaries including the Gingin Brook.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) said more than 10,000 fishers have licences to take part in WA’s 2022 marron fishery, which runs for four weeks to noon on Saturday, February 5.

As well as the Moore River, which enters the ocean at Guilderton, marron waters include the Collie River (upstream of the Australind Bypass Rd and downstream of the Wellington Dam wall, and upstream of the Mungalup Road Bridge), Deep, Gardner, Warren, Donnelly, Blackwood, Capel and Preston rivers and their tributaries, Hutt River and its tributaries and Murray River (upstream from the Pinjarra weir).

The Marron Recreational fishing guide 2022 says the marron fishery is purely for recreational fishers with rules in place help protect vulnerable breeding populations so there will be marron in the future.

Fishers must measure each marron as soon as they catch it, then immediately and carefully return to the water undersize marron and female marron carrying eggs or young.

“Snorkelling or using compressed air to catch marron is prohibited,’’ the guide says.

“Fishing for marron from a boat (including canoes) is also illegal.

“You may only transport marron by boat if you have fished an area not accessible by vehicle and caught the marron from the land using a snare pole.’’

DPIRD said the limited fishing season was an important management measure to ensure the highly valued fishery remained sustainable.

For many recreational marron fishers, it’s an annual pilgrimage to experience camping and fishing, or just a getaway with family or friends, to catch a feed of WA’s unique freshwater cray.

DPIRD aquatic resource management director, Nathan Harrison said the good rainfall in the past year would help boost the fishery.

“The improved productivity is likely to be reflected in coming seasons”, he said.

“But catches for this season are expected to be about the same as 2021.’’

The fishery is also being supported by a stocking initiative, with 70,000 marron released into two dams in the past year.

“More marron stocking is planned under a project funded by recreational fishing licence fees.”

“Western Australian recreational fishers are lucky that every year, for a limited season, they have the chance to catch marron in the wild, along tree-lined rivers, or from popular irrigation dam locations and enjoy the unique experience this sustainably managed fishery offers.

“You may be camping out or walking through bush areas so it’s important everyone abides by the prohibition on campfires, because bushfire safety in WA is everyone’s responsibility. So, stay safe, stick to the rules and have fun this season enjoying your marron catches.”

In recent months, DPIRD researchers attached numbered yellow ‘spaghetti’ tags to marron at several dams.

The tagged marron can be retained as part of the relevant bag and possession limits, provided they are above the minimum legal-size limit.

If you do find a tagged marron though, you can report the dam where you caught it, the date, the tag number and if possible, send a photo of that marron to Marcus.Newman@dpird.wa.gov.au or call the research number 9203 0132 and leave a message with the details.

DPIRD education officers will be out and about at key locations as the marron season opens to help fishers with information and fisheries compliance officers will be checking marron catches are within the rules, which are available in the Marron Recreational fishing guide 2022

If you suspect any illegal fishing activity, please call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to make a report.