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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Some of the safety equipment you are strongly urged to use when abalone fishing including gloves, a wetsuit, a mesh catch-bag and an abalone tool. Photo courtesy of Surf Life Saving WA.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Gear up for safe abalone fishing this season

Recreational abalone fishers should ensure they have the appropriate safety gear ahead of the upcoming West Coast Zone recreational fishing season for the popular shellfish.

Every year Surf Life Saving WA(SLSWA) carries out dozens of rescues of stricken abalone fishers in strife and administers first aid to others injured on the reef.

In the 2017/18 season, abalone fishing times were moved to summer when conditions are safer. Despite these changes, in over just four hours of abalone fishing in the metro area, SLSWA intervened on 206 occasions to prevent dangerous situations arising involving abalone fishers, performed five rescues and administered first aid to 10 injured fishers.

While they do a tremendous job, the presence of SLSWA volunteers isn’t a guarantee of fisher safety and five people have drowned while abalone fishing in recent years. Abalone fishers must take responsibility for their own safety and not fish in unsafe weather conditions.

We are also urging fishers to prepare now ahead of the season start in December and ensure they have appropriate and functioning safety gear. This includes a snorkel, diving mask, long sleeve wetsuit, gloves, reef shoes and a mesh bag that will not become a drag-hazard.

Tips on abalone fishing safety, including information on the appropriate gear to wear are available on the SLSWA website.

Abalone fishing in the West Coast Zone is permitted for licensed fishers from 7am to 8am on the following Saturdays:

• 8 December 2018

• 12 January 2019

• 2 February 2019

• 16 February 2019

The West Coast Zone extends from Busselton Jetty to Moore River and the number of fishing days may be reduced, or extended, if in-season monitoring shows it is necessary to protect stocks, or to provide the opportunity to take the recreational sector’s allowable catch (the current total allowable recreational catch is between 18-22 tonnes).

The abalone season for the Southern Zone (extending from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border) is from 1 October 2018 – 15 May 2019.

If poor weather conditions are forecast, we will take action on the advice of SLSWA and in consultation with Recfishwest, to close the fishery.

Local water conditions can vary between fishing locations and you must take responsibility for your own safety – at no time should you enter the water unless you are confident in your ability to handle the sea conditions.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules. You can also download our Recreational fishing for abalone guide.

Last modified: 15/11/2018 7:17 AM

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