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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Monday 30 January 2017

Reminder for boaters going to the Abrolhos

​Visitors to the Abrolhos Islands are reminded to be aware of the fishing rules for the region, particularly for iconic species, when heading to this popular destination in the coming months.

Midwest Regional Manager for the Department of Fisheries, Ron Shepherd said the upcoming long weekend in March and the Easter holidays were likely to attract many visitors to soak up the experience the islands offer.

“We want to ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable time at the Abrolhos and that they plan properly for their time there,” Mr Shepherd said.

“This means the Master of any vessel travelling to the Abrolhos Fish Habitat Protection Area must notify the Department of Fisheries prior to their visit. This can easily be done through the department’s website at

“The website provides important information for visitors and the notification helps our officers to support the management and safety of visitors.”

Mr Shepherd said those planning to go recreational fishing at the Abrolhos needed to be aware of the specific fishing rules that operate at the islands. While the annual three month seasonal closure to the take of baldchin groper (covering all of November, December and January) ends this week, other rules still apply.

“From this Wednesday (February 1), people may again fish for and retain baldchin groper, however there are different possession limits in the Abrolhos; fishers are only allowed to have 10kgs of fish fillets or one day’s bag limit,” he said.

The baldchin groper is only found in Western Australian waters and is prized for its high-quality white flesh. They are slow-growing fish and take five to seven years to reach 40cm in length. As a result, baldchin groper stocks are likely to take a long time to recover from sustained overfishing.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the pristine environment and the fishery and we urge people to be aware of and follow the rules,” Mr Shepherd said.

“We also urge owners to please clean their vessel’s hull before heading to the Abrolhos and this is particularly important for boats normally penned in the Batavia Marina, at Geraldton – to prevent the introduction of exotic marine pests to the islands. 

“We advise boat owners and all visitors to become familiar with WA’s recreational fishing rules before venturing to the Abrolhos, including the rules specific to the islands.”

Information on rules, limits and gear is available at

Last modified: 31/01/2017 8:58 AM

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